Culture of ‘illness is a weakness’ leads to managers’ health concerns

A culture of ‘illness equals weakness’ within UK organisations is hitting staff productivity, commitment levels and motivation, according to new research.

The ‘Quality of Working Life’ report revealed that nearly a fifth of managers believe their health is deteriorating.

However, a third of managers claimed a culture of not taking time off work for sickness existed in their organisation, with only half feeling they would be treated sympathetically if they were sick.

The report is based on the views more than 1,500 managers surveyed by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and healthcare provider Simplyhealth.

The impact of this negative attitude towards sickness is seen through declining performance, waning enthusiasm and increasing levels of suspicion, the report said.

Further analysis uncovered a series of concerns caused by excessive hours at work. From a personal perspective, the figures showed that long hours affected relationships with children (63%) and friends (59%) and individuals’ health (54%).

Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs at the CMI, said: “While many employers bemoan the cost of absence to their organisations, they fail to see the damage done by creating a culture where illness is seen as a weakness.

“The risk of mistakes or spreading sickness surely outweighs the short-term benefits of someone turning up for work when not fully fit,” Causon added.

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