Remote working has meant that attitudes to taking time off when sick have changed, with nearly two-thirds of employees feeling pressured to work when unwell.
Sixty-four per cent of workers across the UK and US claimed they had felt pressured to log on while they should have been recuperating because of the availability of remote working, according to software firm Beamery.
About the same proportion (63%) said their approach to taking a sick day had changed since widespread remote working was adopted, with 41% admitting to working through their illness and 22% regarding a sick day as a “thing of the past”.
This attitude was most likely to be adopted by younger workers, the poll of 5,004 people for Beamery found. Twenty-nine per cent of 18-24 year olds regarded a sick day as outdated, versus just 12% of 45-54 year olds who said the same.
Beamery CEO Abakar Saidov said employers “must commit to building a culture that supports employees’ wellbeing” in order to reduce presenteeism.
He said: “In this fast-changing world of work, it has become clear that different generations want to work in different ways. Employers need to be mindful of this if they are to retain their workforce, and keep them motivated.”
With the Omicron variant of Covid-19 spreading across the UK, employers have been warned that they could expect sickness absences to rise.
At the time of publication more than 3,100 people had tested positive for the variant, with the true number of infections likely to be higher. The variant now represents around a third of Covid-19 cases in London.
The government aims to offer all adults a Covid-19 booster by the end of the year in a bid to stem infections and hospitalisations.
Royal Mail is currently seeing sickness absence levels that are almost twice the rate seen before the pandemic.