Credit crunch improving work attendance?

When surveyed 83% of workers reported feeling the impact of the credit crunch and 42% of British workers stated they were less likely to take time off during the economic slowdown. The report also surveyed HR professionals, 76% of whom agreed that employees will be less likely to take time off sick as a result of job security worries.

Worryingly, HSA's Healthy Working Report found that 21% of the nation feels they will be less inclined to act on lingering or background health issues in tougher economic times. Despite their attempts to stay healthy, only 3% of people are likely to spend more money on their healthcare.

Refusal to act

This investigation into the health and attitudes of the UK's working population also reveals that one third of workers (34%) are currently worrying about a health issue but have done nothing about it. Female workers are least likely to act on health concerns (35%) than their male counterparts (31%). Researchers found one person who ignored losing vision in one eye and didn't visit the optician through fear of what work might think. The blindness was caused by a brain tumour and resulted in permanent blindness.

Avoiding the doctor

When quizzed, 69%, of Brits have avoided visiting the doctor for varying reasons; 31% were too busy at work, this was the most prevalent reason amongst Londoners. A further 20% were afraid of the outcome, 20% were too embarrassed to visit the doctor's while 5% didn't like their doctor.

Man flu

The study undertaken by HSA, a healthcare company that works as part of the Simplyhealth Group to help more people feel better, also refutes the myth of ‘man flu'. Findings reveal men are less likely than woman to take a day off for the common cold and women are twice as likely to take time off work for a cough than men. Men have also taken fewer days off sick than their female counterpart - 45% of men had not taken a day off in the past year, compared to 31% of women.

An HSA spokeswoman Clare Lee comments on the findings, "The economic slowdown is clearly leaving people less inclined to take time off work as they are worrying about keeping their jobs. And, when times are tight, the report shows that people are less willing to invest in their health. However, this can be costly as neglecting your health can result in illnesses worsening and even long periods of absence from work. People should take a preventative approach to healthcare."

Professor Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology at Lancaster University Management School commented: "The findings in HSA's research demonstrate that employees are suffering the classic symptoms of "presenteeism". This is where people are worried about their jobs so they feel they have to be at work, even if they are ill. Presenteeism usually occurs in a downturn because employees want to show commitment for fear of job loss, so they will come in earlier, stay later and come in even when they are sick. This is counterproductive because a sick employee isn't a productive employee and invariably he or she may make wrong decisions which someone else will have to rectify later on. Organisations need to focus on giving employees the support they need to get better as this will benefit the business in the long run."

Regional variances

People in Newcastle are most likely to think about their health (48%)

Those in Southampton and London are most likely to be too busy to take time to see a doctor (31%)

8% of people in Birmingham didn't see their doctor because they don't like them

People in Cardiff are most likely to take time off work for a headache (13%)

Across the county, more people in Edinburgh have taken no days off work due to illness (51%)

Workers in Norwich are most likely to have felt the impact of the credit crunch at work (25%)

People in Newcastle are the least likely to take time off sick now compared to a year ago (56%)

People in Cardiff are least likely to act on health problems during an economic slowdown (31%)

Glaswegians are most likely to have taken time off for stress