Employees that are not taking time off work when they are ill are putting the workforce at risk.

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Workers are putting their health and that of their colleagues at risk by not taking time off work when they are ill. A recent study by PushDoctor.co.uk found that 86% of employees will go in to work with an infectious illness. 88% also admitted they don’t feel comfortable calling in sick when they are unwell, regardless of how ill they are.

According to the report, this is down to workplace culture as 1 in 4 workers (24%) claim they feel under pressure to go in to work when they are ill. 22% also said their boss would prefer them to be at work even with an infectious illness, as long as it wasn’t serious.

It is apparent that many companies are not recognising the impact of these contagious conditions and how they affect the workforce’s health and productivity. However, workers on the other hand, are as 1 in 5 (21%) feel uncomfortable being around their colleagues when they are infectious.

Eren Ozagir, CEO at PushDoctor.co.uk, comments: “Work pressures can mean finding the time to see a doctor and get advice about whether sick leave is necessary can be difficult. UK businesses must provide their staff with working cultures that encourage seeking medical advice and time off to recover.

“Providing employees access to a GP who can give expert diagnosis or opinion on when it is best to stay at home, or whether they are fit for work, can save the rest of the office from contagious diseases and illness. Having employees in the office while they’ve got contagious illnesses is not good business sense, and it has a detrimental effect on productivity, morale and staff turnover.”

Additionally, the research also found that the illnesses that workers are most likely to go in with include: coughs and colds (59%), tonsillitis, sinusitis (33%), throat infections or strep throat (32%), flu (22%) and the norovirus (15%).

Dr Adam Simon, chief medical officer at PushDoctor.co.uk, added: “When you are ill, your body needs to dedicate a lot of energy to fighting the infection or virus - and if workers are having to make their way to the office and perform to their usual levels, that means there is less energy available to aid recovery. As such, quite often, when sick workers are given the time to recover, they will do so faster, allowing them to return to focusing 100% of their energies on their work.

“Being pressured to recover in the office also means there is a greater chance of the illness being spread amongst the workforce - which can be disastrous for company-wide productivity. “There is a reason why Fit for Work notes exist - and workers and employers alike need to ensure that medical advice is being sought and acted upon, in the event of illness.”