Home News Brits who go into work with a cold cost employers over a third of their productivity time
Brits who go into work with a cold cost employers over a third of their productivity time
Thursday, 09 February 2012 10:37

New research shows the impact of the common cold on UK businesses.


Adults suffer two to five colds per year and a new study reveals that 90 per cent of Brits who admit going into workwith a cold are costing their employers over a third of their usual productivity time.

The research, commissioned by Otrivine, shows the average Brit suffers from a cold for eight days of the year and will attend work for, on average, six and a half days when ill with a cold.

Impact of working with a cold


Yet Brits who brave the office with a cold accomplish, on average, just 64 per cent of their normal workload in a day – impacting businesses with a 35 per cent loss in productivity. Likewise, quality of output is also affected, with the average employee rating their work a third below their usual standard. A third admit to feeling so ill at work that they had knowingly delivered sub-standard work.

Despite nearly two thirds (60 per cent) of Brits not considering the common cold serious enough to require time off work, the physical impact of a cold can be destructive in the workplace. In addition to spreading germs and infecting colleagues, a blocked nose has been proven to clinically impact on breathing during sleep, which can interfere with daily performance. As nasal congestion obstructs the normal sleep pattern, it is associated with daytime fatigue, lack of productivity and poor concentration.

Going into work when suffering from a cold is seemingly counter-productive; last year, more than a quarter (29 per cent) of Brits believe they caught two cold-related viruses from their workplace and 38 per cent admit they were eventually sent home, due to their lack of productivity.

Workers reluctant to stay home


Yet even though over half (53 per cent) of British employees surveyed would rather their colleagues stayed at home to recover and contain their germs, many Brits are reluctant to phone in sick.

Top five reasons people go to work with a cold:


1. Do not feel ill enough to warrant phoning in sick (60 per cent)
2. Do not want to clock up 'sick days' for minor illnesses (40 per cent)
3. Do not want to let the boss/colleagues down (28 per cent)
4. Too embarrassed to call in sick as it's only a cold (26 per cent)
5. Worried about job security (22 per cent)

Further findings show a fifth of Brits have phoned in sick but lied and said it was something other than a cold to save face. When it comes to fellow colleagues phoning in sick with an illness, 29 per cent think it is just an excuse to have a day off and a quarter (27 per cent) are annoyed as it is not a serious illness – one in ten (11 per cent) are annoyed as it increases workload .


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