High job demands, stress and employment insecurity are among the main reasons why people struggle to work when they are ill, according to new research.
A study by the University of East Anglia which aims to improve understanding of the key causes of employees going to work when sick, known as presenteeism, and to help managers be more aware of the existence of the growing phenomenon,
While the findings might sound like good news to employers, presenteeism, has been linked to errors, lower performance and exacerbation of health problems which ultimately lead to greater loss of productivity.
The Centre for Mental Health estimates it costs the UK economy £15.1 billion a year from just mental ill health issues alone.
Dr Mariella Miraglia, who led the report at UEA, said: "Working while ill can compound the effects of the initial illness and result in negative job attitudes and withdrawal from work.
"However, the possible negative consequences of being absent can prompt employees to show up ill or to return to work when not totally recovered.
"Organisations may want to carefully review attendance policies for features which could decrease absence at the cost of increased presenteeism."
The research analysed data from 61 previous studies involving more than 175,960 participants, including the European Working Conditions Survey which sampled employees from 34 countries.
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