Employees downplay illness despite bosses’ best intentions

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To busyt o be ill

According to new research, seven in 10 employees (70 per cent) have delayed or put off seeking medical advice when they should, despite the majority of business leaders having no issue with colleagues taking time off to deal with health issues*.

So despite 85 per cent of all business decision-makers stating that workplace health is a top priority, employees still aren’t being as open as they should, often playing down their illness or injury (32 per cent) or feeling too busy to miss office hours (27 per cent).

Men, young workers (18-34), Londoners and those employed in SMEs are all more likely than average to delay or put off seeking help. The data also shows that those in manual roles (vs. clerical) are more likely to shrug off illness or injury.

A potential solution is making medical appointments less difficult to access, with six in 10 (59 per cent) employees saying they want to be able to speak to a doctor over the phone, online or through an app.

Mark Allan, Commercial Director, Bupa UK, said,

As much as those in decision-making positions really want their employees to put their health first, they’re competing against a strong resistance from those who will strive to soldier on. This is particularly the case with those employees in SME businesses, amongst others.

As an SME, your people are your greatest asset, which is why giving colleagues multiple routes to get help can only be a good thing – be it over the phone, online through clinically approved resources or via an app. And if you can encourage greater self-care by providing convenient solutions, we believe companies will really benefit by having a healthier, happier workforce. This is of course a good in itself, but has also been shown to boost productivity in the long run.”

*by BUPA

Interested in wellbeing in the workplace? We recommend the Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Forum 2019.

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