UK managers refuse to take sick leave

More than half of British managers admit to being unproductive for at least a fifth of their working time because of poor health, research has suggested.

The study of 1,541 managers by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and small business health service Workplace Health Connect, found that although sickness levels were increasing, managers were unwilling to report their symptoms.

Nearly four in 10 respondents said they had difficulty concentrating because of ill health.

Organisations were not doing enough to tackle workplace illness, which in turn has a negative impact on wellbeing and performance.

Six in 10 of those polled claimed illness rates in their organisation had increased over the past 12 months. But just one in three reported symptoms to their line manager, indicating a much deeper malaise, argued the CMI.

Nearly all organisations had general health and safety policies in place, yet far fewer had policies on occupational illness (57%) or managing absence (68%). Fewer still offered training in these two areas (28% and 35% respectively).

Where health initiatives and benefits were offered by organisations, there was an increase in the physical and psychological health of employees, said the CMI.

Mary Chapman, CMI chief executive, said: “With such high levels of illness being experienced, organisations and individuals must act to maintain their competitive edge.

“Failure to do so will lead to disruption, because health clearly has an impact on performance, productivity and ultimately, the bottom line,” she added.

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