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Many working while sick

Tuesday December 29, 2015 Written by  Retain Canada
High pressure working environments are forcing two-thirds of Canadians to work while they’re sick.

According to a new survey by CareerBuilder Canada, 66 per cent of employees will still go into the office despite feeling ill as a result of work related pressures.

About half of all workers surveyed (48 per cent) revealed their stress levels at work have increased over the last six months, so it’s no surprise that employees are feeling obliged to work whilst sick to ease the burden of ever increasing workloads. Many respondents believed that taking time off work would only result in their email inbox filling up, and their “to-do” list getting longer, thereby increasing stress levels further.

The survey also found that 53 per cent of Canadian workers were unable to take time off work due to being ill as they felt that they could not afford to miss out on their hard earned wages.

Those employees who were brave enough to take the time off work provided the following reasons:

  • 36 per cent called in sick because they had a doctor’s appointment
  • 25 per cent of employees didn’t feel like going to work
  • 18 per cent needed to catch up on sleep

Surprisingly, the research also found that 28 per cent of employees actually logged on to their emails whilst sick, even though they had told their employer they were unwell for at least part of the day.

“We’ve found our latest research rather surprising, not least because as many employees are taking time off work to recover from mental health issues as physical ones, thereby illustrating our workforce is tired, stressed and under immense pressure. Employers must take employee wellbeing seriously,” said Ryan Lazar, director of CareerBuilder Canada.

“Whether you are working in a high pressure environment or not, it’s important to take the correct amount of time to recover from an illness, rather than trying to work in the interim," Lazar added. "Your employer has a duty of care to ensure that you are fit enough to be in the workplace, and this standard must be upheld. Ultimately, if the Canadian workforce does not take the time to get back to good health, companies will face a drop in productivity levels, morale and continue to see a stark increase in staff taking time off work in the long term.”

The online survey was conducted among 501 full- or part-time workers in Canada in September and October. The chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 4.4 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

Three tips to help improve mental wellbeing in the workplace

  1. Recognize the warning signs. The symptoms of stress are vast and can range from feeling anxious and a loss of appetite to sleeping problems. If you are concerned about any of these symptoms, it’s important to visit your doctor right away.
  2. Get physical. Regular exercise is proven to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing. Even though it’s the last thing you feel like doing, take a walk at lunch or go for a quick jog after work to clear your mind.
  3. Talk to someone. Whether you speak to a colleague or your boss, it’s important to develop good relationships with co-workers as they can help and offer support in stressful situations.

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