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Why is being ill such a dirty thing these days?

Working within the workplace health and wellbeing sector it’s inevitable that the subject of sickness absence comes up on a regular basis, however why is it seen as such a negative thing!! And that being sick is a bad thing, surely its part of being human to get sick once in a while, especially now that we push ourselves further than I think we have ever done in the past

sickness-word-map

Seeing the article by the BBC recently which talks about why American’s don’t take Sick days after Hilary Clinton was seen to stumble at an event and then diagnosed with pneumonia and how “sickness” is seen as a weakness (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-37353742)!! This really does make me shudder!

The culture of sickness = bad starts early on in our lives with schools rewarding pupils for 100% attendance isn’t this just increasing the rate/chances of presenteeism and setting the tone for the rest of our working lives that you can’t be off sick!!

As a nutritional therapist, I think it’s a good thing we get sick at least once a year, even if this is a mild cold or flu as this shows that your immune system is able to respond to attack and effectively neutralise the attack.

I think the challenge we have is to make sure that when employees are off sick, they are genuinely sick and if that’s the case how as employers we can support them to help them become well again.

And if there isn’t genuine sickness, what are the reasons behind the employee taking time off sick.

Sickness cost the UK economy £1.24 Billion in 2015, so it’s something we do need to crack but making people afraid to have time off is I don’t think is the way forward!!

In 2015 the CIPD Absence Management Survey concluded that presenteeism cost double that of absenteeism so having a culture where being “off sick” is frowned upon is actually costing the economy more money!!

We are also seeing a huge rise in employees suffering from poor mental health which I believe isn’t helped by this type of thinking!!

We need to look differently at this problem; old thinking is just not going to work in this new generation especially with the blurring of lines when it comes to work/life balance and how technology and social media seems to have taken over our lives whether you like it or not!!

What have you done to help your employees to stay well in the first instance, but what support do you give them when they are off sick?

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