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Presenteeism is often driven by staff themselves. If you are interested in workplace healthcare issues, take a look at our Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Summit 2014

Two recent surveys caught my eye this week. The first was from the insurance giant Canada Life who provide a significant amount of protection insurance for organisations. They identified over a quarter (26%) of employees have called in sick to work when they weren’t ill and 29% called in sick due to feeling exhausted  or stressed because of their job.

Over one in six (17%) of those who have called in sick, despite not being ill, did so because they were tired. 12% of respondents said they needed time off due to work-related stress but didn’t want to admit it.

We all know the cost of absenteeism is significant but this also highlights a concerning lack of communication between employees and their employers when conditions in the workplace are believed to be contributing to poor health.

The other survey was run by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) who polled over 1,000 members. This showed almost two thirds (65%) of workers in the UK feel under pressure to work extra hours, with nine out of ten (94%) working over and above their contracted hours each week. They found that unpaid overtime is firmly embedded in UK working culture, with 76% of people routinely working late in the office or at home, 48% regularly working through their lunch-break and over one third (38%) working weekends. Over half (53%) of respondents felt they had to work extra hours to complete their workloads, with the main out-of-hours tasks being catching up on emails (78%), reading papers and documents (32%), and dealing with urgent or time sensitive matters (30%).

Nearly half (47%) of employees polled, work at least one additional day (7.5 hours or more) of unpaid overtime per week, with 13% working over 15 hours, or two working days, of overtime on a weekly basis. Only 13% of workers felt that they had a good work/life balance.

Over six in ten workers felt pressure from their organisation to work extra hours, while 44% felt under direct pressure from their boss.

The last figure I will quote you is that 60% of people admitted the pressure to work extra hours was in part self-inflicted.

Now this is where it gets interesting, as it brings in the individual’s personality. Traits like perfectionism and other high personal drivers have a significant effect on stress induction. I believe this highlights the need for self-awareness including NLP communications styles, emotional intelligence levels, humour quotients, optimism and mental toughness levels.

We regularly run courses covering these topics and the feedback from delegates is exciting as they feel they can take more charge of their reactions, behaviours and outcomes which is very empowering.

The 2014 workplace can be exciting, vibrant and satisfying producing optimum performance and happy, healthy employees or ………..the one quoted in the above polls, which is costly, unhealthy and demotivating.

Ann McCracken is our chosen blogger for the Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Summit 2014.


Ann McCracken is a Director of AMC2 and the vice president of the International Management Association (ISMA UK) – the professional body for stress management Practitioners.

She specialises in developing a positive and resilient working culture in organisations by introducing effective strategies in performance and wellbeing at all levels. The effectiveness of such a positive working culture is measured and assessed using AMC2 Corporate Diagnostic innovative surveys which include measurement of psychosocial factors, stress and wellbeing. Having initially trained as a scientist, she carried out research with DEFRA and consultancy in the NHS.

She spent 10 years in Education before retraining as a stress management practitioner in 1996. She is the author of Stress Gremlins©, regularly writes/broadcasts and is an external lecturer at Westminster University. She is also a Key Note/Motivational speaker/Conference Chair.

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