The pandemic is more likely to have an effect on individuals taking sick days (Image: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)
The pandemic has resulted in a heightened consciousness round hygiene and an infection.
We’re washing our palms greater than ever, have hand sanitiser inside attain and are isolating once we are contagious. The truth is, it’s doubtless this increased focus on hygiene will keep colds and flu bugs at bay this winter.
So, if we’re extra aware of an infection and well being usually, will this imply we’ll be extra vigilant on the subject of going into work sick in future? And can we really feel much less responsible about taking a sick day than we now have up to now?
Dr Elena Touroni, a advisor psychologist and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, says: ‘For a very long time, we’ve celebrated “busy tradition” which could have led us to really feel responsible for taking time without work once we’re sick.
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‘In some respects, Covid has introduced us extra in tune with our our bodies – many people have develop into extra conscious of once we’re feeling drained or run down, for instance.’
We’d naturally assume that post-pandemic we’ll see individuals taking extra sick days – which implies much less time sat round colleagues sniffling and sneezing, or listening to coughs echoing all through the workplace.
Nonetheless, it’s not fairly so simple as this.
Professor Cary Cooper, from Alliance Manchester Enterprise College, says historical past has proven that the alternative might occur.
He says that the pandemic, and the next recession that’s occurring because of it, will imply there’s a lower within the variety of sick days taken.
That is right down to the truth that in instances of financial uncertainty, individuals go into work – even once they’re sick.
Cary has coined this phenomenon as ‘presenteeism’ – AKA the alternative of ‘absenteeism.’
He tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Individuals flip as much as work unwell however ship no added worth, they’re simply doing it to point out “face time.”
‘That’s what we’re going to have once we get out of this lockdown and once we get rid Covid.
‘We’re in a recession now – nevertheless it’ll be worse in future as a result of there can be no furloughing and no monetary assist – so lots of people will lose their jobs and when that occurs there can be fewer individuals doing extra work and longer hours and exhibiting up extra, so their absenteeism charges is not going to go down – presenteeism will go up.
‘And on this present context – as we’re working from dwelling – persons are nonetheless exhibiting presenteeism as they’re nonetheless sending emails at evening, they’re not doing a 9am-5pm job – they’re over-working as a result of they’re feeling insecure about their job.’
So regardless of this hyper-awareness of hygiene and an infection, introduced on by the pandemic, individuals will nonetheless go to the workplace or earn a living from home when they’re sick, as job safety would be the most important driving pressure.
Cary provides: ‘I feel the job insecurity is predominant, persons are very frightened about their jobs – even individuals who really feel comparatively safe.
‘In instances like this when individuals lose their jobs, what you are inclined to get is the remaining individuals, the survivors, are inclined to work longer hours, come to work unwell and make themselves susceptible as a result of they’re not resting once they’re unwell.
‘They’re coming to work or they’re working longer hours to point out dedication, so they aren’t the following tranche of people who find themselves made redundant.’
What’s extra, this presenteeism demonstrated by staff might value firms critical cash. It’s because sick staff should not being productive.
Cary says: ‘They’re not contributing any added worth as they’re poorly and in addition [if they are in the office] they’re infecting different individuals – it’s higher if they only took the time without work.
‘In 2008, once we had the final recession, it was calculated that the presenteeism charge value £15 billion a yr, whereas absenteeism solely value £8 billion.’
So it appears – alongside more working from home and job cuts – a fall in sick days can be one other long-term consequence of the pandemic on the planet of labor.
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