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Staying late in the office may be more costly than being off sick

People who consistently stay late in the office in a bid to look more committed and ‘present’ at work could be costing the economy millions of pounds.

Research by business psychology company Robertson Cooper showed that thousands of people are putting in extra time in their office space in London or the rest of the UK in a bid to make sure they present themselves as valuable assets to the company, and therefore avoid redundancy.

The study identified four groups of people who do this – the healthy, the sick, the job dissatisfied and the chronic unhealthy who have become poorly through work, HR Magazine reported.

Of these groups, only one contributes productively to the company by completing overtime, making up 35 per cent of the total workforce. The others are putting a strain on their health or lacking in productivity as they are not motivated to do the job.

Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology at Lancaster University, said: “If the UK economy is to grow, given that we have fewer people doing more work as a result of the cuts, we will need far more than 35 per cent of the working population to be robust, healthy and fully functioning. We need to: get to the root cause of why people are not fully engaged, overcome their fears of job insecurity and make the workplace healthier and better-managed.”

The Work Foundation completed a study at AXA which showed that many employees go into work when ill for performance-related reasons, as well as work-related pressure.