‘Deskless’ workers feel unable to take time off when sick

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More than half of ‘deskless’ workers have gone into work while unwell because they could not afford to take time off, research has revealed.

A survey of 1,500 people working in non-office-based roles – including lorry drivers, care workers, restaurant workers, warehouse operatives and supermarket cashiers – found that 55% had struggled into work unwell.

The survey, by workforce management software provider Quinyx, also highlighted potential issues around high pressure and stressful working environments.

Fifty-two per cent said the company they worked for was understaffed, 83% of whom said this had led to a more stressful working environment.

Almost a third said they did not feel valued by their employer, and 59% of this group believed this was because they are viewed as a temporary or disposable resource.

Forty per cent said they had felt pressured into taking a shift they did not want and 57% had lost out on personal time as a result of their work. This extended into missing social events and holiday celebrations (53%) and missing major milestones such as weddings and furnerals (30%), according to The State of the Deskless Workforce 2021 report.

Over half were uncomfortable addressing the impact of work scheduling on their personal life, or how working conditions affect their physical and mental health.

Toma Pagojute, chief HR officer at Quinyx, said: “The pandemic has been a catalyst for some positive change across office-based industries, yet our report highlights the disparity for the nation’s deskless workforce. We hope the study provides useful insight for businesses operating in these sectors – so they can take steps to turn these negatives into positives.

“This report is an SOS signal from the deskless workforce. They are telling us they feel side-lined and that they need flexibility, improved dialogue with managers and control over their schedules, so they can achieve the work-life balance and job satisfaction that they so deserve – highlighting a clear requirement for much better systems to manage resources and demand,” he added.

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