Workers must try to avoid the downward spiral of stress that is brought on by cases of 'presenteeism', according to the Institution of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH).
Dr Luise Vassie, head of research and technical services at the IOSH, explained that presenteeism is when people come into work despite being ill and then cannot take time off because they feel they would put themselves in a difficult position.
She described the phenomenon as being like a catch-22 situation and suggested it could become more commonplace following the announcement of austerity cuts in the UK.
"At the moment we are seeing a situation where some people who may be in fear of losing their jobs are taking on extra work," Dr Vassie said.
A study by the IOSH published earlier this year showed that nine out of ten public sector employees have worked when they were too ill to be in the office.
Last month, the organisation warned the government there be problems ahead as a result of proposed cuts to the Health and Safety Executive budget.