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Economic downturn seeing office workers come in even when ill

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More office workers are going into work despite being ill, because of fears over job security, new research has discovered.

The study, which was carried out by Nuffield Health, found that 72 per cent of staff had attended the office while unwell in the past year.

This is despite the fact that illnesses are more likely to be spread in this way and 53 per cent of respondents said they were contagious.

Approximately half of those interviewed said that fears over losing their jobs meant that they would show up for work even when they’re not fit to do so.

30 per cent of people said they were more likely to come in now than they would have been before the economic downturn began.

Marcus Powell, managing director of corporate wellbeing at Nuffield Health, said: “Employees going into work sick costs business dearly – up to £15billion a year.”

One way of preventing the spread of illnesses in the workplace is allowing flexible working, meaning people can carry out their jobs without having to come into the office.

It means they can work from home and not feel as if they are taking a day off, but means they do not infect other employees.

Staff need to know that they can take time off if they need to however, as people can become worse by not giving themselves the proper time to recover.

It is actually those on lower wages and younger employees who are likely to show presenteeism, with those on higher wages phoning in sick when they are unwell.

Men are less likely to go into the office when suffering from an illness with 27 per cent saying they’d make it in compared to 33 per cent of women.

Mr Powell said: “This is bad for business. At Nuffield Health we work with more than 1,000 corporate clients to help them maintain a healthy workforce; the corporate world knows that staff wellbeing directly affects their profits.”