National Sick Day: what was really behind it?

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One in three UK professionals have admitted they suffer from what is being called Sunday night fear. Twenty six per cent of them admitted they’ve called in sick because they were too worried to go to work.  

This may not be a revelation but it was significant as it came last Friday on National Sick Day 2020 and as a result of a survey by the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library. They surveyed 2,000 British professionals. And it comes on the heels of a number of others by respected organisations.

Researchers  found that 25-34 year olds were the most likely to dread Mondays, with four in ten stating that they regularly experience Sunday night fear. The industries where staff are most likely to suffer this include: 

Lee Biggins: CEO of CV Library
Lee Biggins: time to evaluate culture
  1. Media (66.7%) 
  2. Electronics (50%) 
  3. Legal (50%) 
  4. Leisure/Tourism (50%) 
  5. Social Care (46.4%) 
  6. Sales (46.2%) 
  7. Finance (43.6%) 
  8. Agriculture (42.9%) 
  9. Marketing (42.9%) 
  10. Automotive (40.9%) 

Oddly, even though most dreaded their return to work after the weekend,  actually think that Tuesday is the worst day of the working week. Only 5.1 per cent of respondents chose it as their favourite day. Unsurprisingly, Friday emerged as the UK’s favourite day for more than half. Alongside this, 63.6 per cent of workers said they feel better about the week once Wednesday is done and they’re “over the hump”. 

Lee Biggins, CEO and founder of CV-Library said: “If your employees suffer from Sunday night fear on a regular basis then it’s time to evaluate your company culture. Employees that feel stressed are often less productive, less efficient and, as the data shows, are far more likely to ‘pull a sickie’.”   

“It’s important to encourage managers to discuss workloads with any staff members that appear to be struggling; and offer support where possible. By encouraging employees to foster a healthy work-life balance, you’ll be future-proofing your business by attracting and retaining the best professionals in your industry. However, if you neglect to look after your staff, you may find it difficult to expand your operations and reach your company goals.” 

8.6 million found their jobs ‘too painful’

Another survey by the IT company Insight, found that some 8.6 million people threw sick days last year because they found their jobs “too painful”.

The research blamed concerns about work culture, colleagues and workloads and warned of “serious issues within organisations’ culture” and called for more flexible working.

It was based the findings on a Kantar survey of 1,250 working adults, done over a week in January this year.

Jonathan Richards, CEO of Breathe
Jonathan Richards: Presenteesim is a real issue

Jonathan Richards, CEO and co-founder of Breathe, thr HR software company who recently won director of the year in the SME category at the IoD London & South Director of the Year Awards responded by saying this reveals the “damaging impact of poor company culture”.

He added: “Presenteeism is a real issue in the modern workplace. Technology can place real pressure on us to be constantly ‘switched on’, causing us to feel stressed and anxious.

“Accessing emails on phones during our own time can make it feel as though we take work home with us. As such, it’s not surprising that over 12 million people went into work despite being ill.”

A similar survey last month for Investors in People revealed that almost two thirds of employees (65 per cent) go to bed on Sunday night dreading returning to work. On average, they say this occurs three times a month, highlighting what it called a “crisis in the UK workforce”.

That survey was timed to meet the worst time or Monday blues – the first day back at the start of a new year.

It also suggested that the number of people feeling unhappy in their jobs is on the rise, increasing by 10 per cent year-on-year. About a quarter of them were actively seeking a new job.