Phoning in sick with stress: acceptable in your small business?

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Phoning in sick with stress: acceptable in your small business?

An interesting piece over on Small Business.co.uk draws a contrast between the numbers of employees ‘pulling a sickie’ to cope with stress, and those willing to admit that’s the real reason.

A disjunct that needs addressing, suggest the authors of the report, from CABA.

‘One in three UK employees think about quitting on a regular basis’, reads the headline, over on Small Business.

‘Brits are under significant workplace strain, with workers routinely pulling sickies to deal with stress, research finds’.

The research found that 36 per cent of employees surveyed ‘think about quitting their position on a regular basis’. Furthermore, 13 per cent call in sick because of stress, and the same number admitted ‘to feeling stressed at least once a day’.

Mismatch in perception?

The weird misconception seems to be that those taking time off are worried their employers would not accept their reason, while the same research suggests the reverse is true.

‘According to the research, employers overwhelmingly agree that taking a sick day for mental ill health is completely acceptable. The findings revealed that 94 per cent of HRs believe depression or anxiety is an adequate reason to call in sick’; 80 per cent also ‘believe that workplace stress is also a legitimate reason for a sick day’.

So, is there a mismatch in perception here?

What’s the prevailing attitude in your small business?

Keep quiet?

‘More than half of working Brits (57 per cent) would tell someone at work if they thought they were suffering from stress, anxiety or depression, with their line manager or supervisor (25 per cent) the most likely go-to person.’

But 32 per cent ‘would keep quiet, preferring not to let anyone know’.

And older people are more likely not to tell.

‘Over 55s (40 per cent) are the most likely not to tell anyone, compared to 18 per cent of 25-34 year olds’.

Valid reasons

Laura Little, Learning and Development Manager at CABA, is quoted by Small Business.

‘One in four people experience a mental health issue every year,’ she says, ‘so it is reassuring to learn that HRs agree stress, depression and anxiety are all valid reasons for employees to call in sick.’

She welcomes the fact that mental health issues are being seen in the same light as physical problems, like back pain, for instance. But encourages businesses to make this message clearer.

‘It’s extremely important for businesses to promote a supportive, non-judgmental ethos to encourage employees to take time off if they need it, and most importantly encouraging conversation if people are struggling.’

And she calls on us all ‘to spread the supportive message’.

Read the piece in full over on Small Business.co.uk.

Photo by Eduardo Sánchez on Unsplash

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