A significant proportion of Britain's small business bosses are risking ill health because of the stresses of keeping their businesses afloat in the tough economic climate.
Research by healthcare provider Bupa found that four out of 10 heads of small companies said that they continued to work from their sick beds when ill because there was nobody else to pick up their work.
Nearly one-third said their business would collapse if they were to take time off and nearly two-thirds said employee absence was negatively affecting their business.
Almost half calculated that high levels of employee absence were reducing their turnover by up to 10%.
Four out of 10 admitted that they spent more on office stationery than employee health and wellbeing initiatives, such as flu jabs and subsidised gym membership.
Dr Jenny Leeser, clinical director of OH at Bupa, said: "Absence can be less of a burden if it is properly managed, for example through part-time return-to-work plans, which can see staff return sooner. To get advice tailored to individual business needs, bosses should consult an occupational health specialist."