workers are now so concerned about lack of job security that they will trudge into work even when genuinely ill
The winter ‘sicky’ – that age-old term for when workers exaggerate cold and flu-like symptoms to get time off work – looks to be catching a cold.
A new study by Fisherman’s Friend has found that workers are now so concerned about lack of job security that they will trudge into work even when genuinely ill so as to impress the boss and underline their commitment to the job.
Fisherman’s Friend, which quizzed more than 1,000 adults, found that half of workers had not taken a single day off sick so far in 2011 because of a cold or flu – despite falling ill with such illnesses on three occasions already this year.
What’s more, the average number of days taken off sick due to such illnesses is now just two days a year – half the number when Fisherman’s Friend conducted its last cold and flu survey three years ago.
East Midlands 54%
West Midlands 42%
East of England 61%
Greater London 33%
Northern Ireland 49%
Table reflecting % of workers that have taken no sick days in 2011
The dramatic fall in cold and flu absenteeism means that such illnesses are estimated to have cost UK plc a mere £4.6 billion in 2011 – compared with more than £9 billion three years ago. Workers’ top two reasons for battling on even when ill were ‘concerns over job security’ and ‘not wanting to let colleagues down’, which together polled more than 90% of the vote.
“Our survey makes interesting reading because the figures show the difference in workers’ attitudes to sickness and job security in just three short years,” said Rob Metcalfe, Fisherman’s Friend spokesman.
“When we carried out our last study, fears over job security were not a strong factor, but we are now several years into the economic downturn, and with warnings of even tougher times ahead no one wants to be singled out as a weak link at work.
“All we can advise is that people try and guard against the worst symptoms once a cold or flu starts to appear – such as sucking on a well-known brand of lozenge! That way they will feel better equipped even if they choose to struggle on.”
Workers aged between 25 and 34 were found to have had the greatest number of colds and days off in 2011, three apiece, possibly due to hectic lifestyles that revolve around work and play, leaving them more exposed to illnesses such as the common cold.
Workers in the North East were found to have had the most colds – an average of three – while those living and working in Northern Ireland have had the fewest, just two.
Workers in Scotland, Wales and the South West took the least time off when ill in 2011, with more than two thirds from each region declining to take a single day off for a cold or flu.
Meanwhile, the only major difference between men and women still appears to be their perception of how ill they really are when suffering with a cold or flu. Three quarters of men claimed they genuinely thought they suffered more than members of the fairer sex – with more than half of women agreeing with them!
Notes to editors:
• It is the strong menthol and eucalyptus found in Fisherman’s Friend lozenges that help keep winter aliments at bay. In fact, Fisherman’s Friend contains a third more menthol than its rivals. Menthol is widely used to treat colds, as it provides rapid relief from a blocked nose.
• Fisherman’s Friend’s RSP’s are 73p for a 25g packet or £1.39 for a 45g box and is available in leading independent and multiple grocers, pharmacies, newsagents, convenience stores and forecourts.
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Nicole Kennedy/Jenny Choules
Richmond Towers Communications
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