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Office space sickness increases should be monitored

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that after a slight dip during the recession, office space sickness is on the up again.

Before the economic downturn happened, just 2.5 per cent of employees surveyed by the ONS had taken at least one day off sick in the three weeks prior to being interviewed.

During the first quarter of 2009, when the economic turmoil was at its greatest, the figure fell to 2.1 per cent.

Things appear to have returned to how they were prior to the recession in the first quarter of 2011 and sickness is back up to 2.5 per cent, according to the ONS.

Overall, however, the office space sickness trend has been a downward one.

ONS statistician Jamie Jenkins said: “There’s been a general decline in the incidence of sickness absence since the beginning of 2000, when it was 3.4 per cent.”

Katja Hall, director of employment policy at the Confederation of British Industry, believes that flexible and remote working could actually cut office space absenteeism going forward.

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