February 4, 2022
A new report from O.C. Tanner calls into question the validity of ‘National Sickie Day’ (7 February 2022), instead pointing to poor workplace culture as the root cause of over a quarter of absences. The 2022 Global Culture Report claims that 28 per cent of UK workers have taken more days off lately to avoid work with over a quarter (26 per cent) admitting that they dread going into work. The study of over 38,000 employees, leaders, HR practitioners and executives from 21 countries around the world, including over 2,500 from the U.K suggests that the pandemic has caused social connections to break down, and this has led to more mental health challenges with lonely and disengaged workers looking for ways to avoid work.“The term ‘National Sickie Day’ trivialises mental health and wellbeing issues, and suggests that those who take time off when they aren’t feeling up to work are ‘pulling a fast one’”, says Robert Ordever, MD of workplace culture expert, O.C. Tanner Europe. “Instead, the focus must be placed on why some employees are struggling to attend work, whether in-person or virtually. Could a sick workplace culture be behind increased absences, with people feeling disconnected from colleagues, isolated from leaders and not valued by the organisation?”
In fact, nearly half of UK workers (45 per cent) admit that there have been times when they’ve felt like running away from their job. The futility many feel is also highlighted with 42 per cent stating that, even if they wanted to change something at their organisation, it wouldn’t matter.
In addition, almost a third of workers (30 per cent) confess that they have nothing more to give in their job, with a similar number (28 per cent), admitting that things they used to tolerate at work have started to bother them.
“When increasing numbers of employees are missing work for reasons relating to their mental wellbeing, the organisational culture must be scrutinised”, says Ordever. “Leaders need to look at all areas of culture, from organisational purpose and the state of leadership through to how valued, supported and appreciated employees feel every single day.”
The report recommends nurturing connections between employees and their leaders, teams and the organisation. When employees have strong social connections at work and feel connected to organisational purpose, they’re 86 per cent less likely to experience burnout, and the company is 12 times’ more likely to thrive.
Giving regular and personalised staff recognition is also considered key to a healthy workplace. In fact, When recognition is common throughout the culture, the likelihood of employees feeling more connected to the organisation, their leaders and colleagues increases by 131 per cent.