employee wellbeing

From the common cold to emotional burnout, new research has found that Brits are reluctant to call in sick, many because they’re afraid of their boss and office backlash*.

More than three quarters (79 per cent) of Brits have forced themselves to go in to work whilst feeling under the weather, with more than one in ten (13 per cent) experiencing judgment from colleagues and nearly a quarter (24 per cent) due to pressure from their boss.

Feeling obliged to come in to work despite illness, two thirds of Brits (66 per cent) have still gone to work when suffering from a cold or flu and over a fifth (22 per cent) when suffering from stress, or an emotional crisis. Perhaps this is due to two fifths (40 per cent) feeling their boss did not believe they were genuinely ill when they have previously taken a sick day.

For those who are brave enough to bite the bullet and call in unwell, more than two thirds (67 per cent) said they feel guilty for taking time off work due to illness, or health related issues. This could explain why so many Brits are reluctant to speak to their employer about their health and wellbeing.

Nearly a third of Brits (30 per cent) admitted they are too scared to talk to their boss about needing time off for a health-related issue, whilst almost three quarters (72 per cent) say there are times their current employer does not do enough to look after their physical and mental wellbeing.

Sat Sindhar, Managing Director at People HR, said,

In our experience, companies who encourage people to rest when they are physically or mentally unwell, benefit from lower staff turnover and better productivity. Besides, is it really responsible to let an ill person serve food, operate dangerous machinery, or run payroll? It concerns me to see how many employees across the UK are hesitant to call in sick due to guilt and pressure from their employer. We need to break the taboo of sick days, and be seen encouraging employees to make that decision about their health, knowing they will be supported if and when they do.

For many, office benefits would help to improve their wellbeing and help employees perform better, making them more than just a perk of the job. Nearly half of Brits (45 per cent) said they would consider workplace benefits more valuable than receiving a higher salary.

Top 10 workplace benefits Brits think would improve their wellbeing
An extra day off for your birthday – 33 per cent
Free breakfast – 30 per cent
Unlimited holiday – 29 per cent
Fruit provided – 27 per cent
Allocated ‘duvet days’ (a day off when you feel like it, with no prior notice needed) – 25per cent
Health insurance – 25 per cent
A work ‘nap room’ to have a power nap during the day – 23 per cent
Free massages at work – 22 per cent
Free yoga classes during work hours – 19 per cent
Discounted membership at nearby gyms – 7 per cent
Personal benefits such as a day off for your birthday (33 per cent), unlimited holiday (29 per cent) and something as simple as fruit being provided (2 7per cent) proved to be more popular than what most employers currently offer, discounted membership at nearby gyms (17 per cent). Surprisingly nearly half of Brits (47per cent) admitted that their current employer does not offer any benefits of perks in order to improve their wellbeing.

*From People HR

Interested in wellbeing in the workplace? We recommend the Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Forum 2019.





Aphrodite is a creative writer and editor specialising in publishing and communications. She is passionate about undertaking projects in diverse sectors. She has written and edited copy for media as varied as social enterprise, art, fashion and education. She is at her most happy owning a project from its very conception, focusing on the client and project research in the first instance, and working closely with CEOs and Directors throughout the consultation process. Much of her work has focused on rebranding; messaging and tone of voice is one of her expertise, as is a distinctively unique writing style in my most of her creative projects. Her work is always driven by the versatility of language to galvanise image and to change perception, as it is by inspiring and being inspired by the wondrous diversity of people with whom paths she crosses cross!

Aphrodite has had a variety of high profile industry clients as a freelancer, and previously worked for a number of years as an Editor and Journalist for Prospects.ac.uk.

Aphrodite is also a professional painter.