Sickness absence down but stress and illness at work increases

The ONS has just revealed that the number of working days lost to sickness absence has reduced in the last twenty years: from 178 million in 1993 to 131 million in 2013.  But before you start rejoicing consider the following:  They also report that the number of absences due to stress, depression and anxiety has continued to increase – they accounted for 15.2 million lost days last year. 

And this isn’t the only cause for concern, it’s thought that presenteeism is on the rise.  It’s not uncommon for us to hear that employees at a variety of organisations say they’re stressed due to work but they wouldn’t want to take time off to deal with it.  And a survey last year found that employees were too afraid to take time off to recover because of heavy workloads, the risk of redundancy and criticism from colleagues.  

So don’t just compare your data on absenteeism to the published statistics, consider if your staff are productive and efficient – could they be coming in to work whilst sick?  Also, are you doing enough to maintain the health and wellbeing of your workforce, and are you tackling the causes of work-related stress?  For help with this, please contact gill@unisonmedia.co.uk







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