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Nearly two-thirds of ‘sick’ staff feel more pressure to go to work than last year – survey

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Many employees resort to taking matters into their own hands when it comes to boosting cleanliness in the workplace

As people make their way back to the office after the festive break a survey has revealed that most workers feel more pressure to turn up when ill compared to last year.

While over half of workers (53%) have caught a cold from a colleague who should have taken a day off, the survey found that today almost two-thirds (64%) feel under more pressure to go to work when they are ill than they did a year ago.

According to research commissioned by cleaning company Cleanology, which has offices in Lansdowne Road, Eccles, Greater Manchester, 66% of us blame coughing workmates for causing our own illness, with dirty toilets and keyboards coming in second and third. Furthermore, 41% of those who have noticed an increase in presenteeism feel pressurised to come into work ‘very often’.

The report looked into behaviour around illness and work, and at attitudes towards workplace hygiene. It found that when it comes to cleanliness, many resort to taking things into their own hands. Carrying of cleaning wipes has become commonplace, and over a third have cleaned their own desk. Almost as many are cleaning the work kitchen.

CEO at Cleanology, Dominic Ponniah, said the research gave new insight into the culture around cleanliness and illness. He said: “While only a quarter of people blamed a dirty workplace for catching an illness, two out of five carry cleaning wipes. For us, as a cleaning company, this is a telling insight into the standard of cleaning in many workplaces.

“Our findings also raise important questions about standard work practices and whether businesses would benefit from encouraging people to work from home. More than half of those surveyed had caught a cold from a colleague, while 62 agreed that they are not able to work to the best of their abilities when they are sick. Respondents felt guilty for coming to work coughing and sneezing, and 57 per cent of FMs felt that they were likely to make mistakes.”

The survey was conducted by Sapio Research, which questioned 1,056 respondents. Of these, 51 were facilities managers.

Gender differences were highlighted, with one third of men taking sick days, compared with just under a quarter of women. Men are also more likely to work from home when they are sick. However, the odds are not all stacked in the favour of men – 25 per cent of male workers reported having to take matters into their own hands by cleaning the workplace toilet, compared with just 17 per cent of women!

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