We have all had those days when we are not feeling on top form. We struggle into work, as we realise taking time off would mean double the workload for the following day. Or perhaps, in these unsettling economic times, we feel under pressure to be there. By showing our faces, even when ill, we are demonstrating our commitment to the job.
This ‘Dunkirk spirit’ could be sapping productivity. According to research carried out by Robertson Cooper, productivity levels for employees who feel ill drops from 75 per cent on a normal day, to just 55 per cent on these ‘sick days’.
Furthermore, the main cause of workplace stress in the UK has changed since 2007. Back then the chief worry at work was too much change, with 38 per cent of workers citing this. In this latest report, the top fear was not having enough time to do their job (33 per cent). This has led to many workers too afraid to take time off when ill.
The UK continues to work some of the longest hours across Europe. However, the research shows that the British workforce is already far less productive than their counterparts in Europe, with the staff on the continent getting through about 20 per cent more work in the same time period.
So perhaps we need to change our attitudes to work. Commitment to our career should be measured on the quality and productivity of our work, not the hours we are there.
☛ See the next issue of Supply Business
for an economic analysis of ‘in-shoring’ and productivity in the UK