With sick leave at its lowest for decades, new Bupa research has suggested millions of employees headed into work last year, despite being unwell, feeling pain or suffering from mental illness.
Two-thirds (64%) of UK employees have gone into work within the last 12 months despite feeling unwell, while a third (27%) have ignored their doctor's advice to stay at home, research by Bupa has revealed.
The percentage of those working while suffering from musculoskeletal issues, such as back and neck ache, was 34% - and 29% endured stress, depression and anxiety while in the workplace.
The findings come after the latest government figures (2016) showed sick leave at its lowest since records began in 1993.
But with most employers pushing for increased productivity in 2018, Bupa's research reinforced the view that a present workforce is not necessarily an efficient one, with sick employees delaying their chance of recovery by forcing themselves to come into work.
Bupa found that 20% of employees did not take leave because they had too much work on, while 26% did not want to burden their team with their absence.
Meanwhile, 16% were worried people at work would not believe they were actually sick - 13% said they were reluctant to take time off because they were anxious about their job security.
Commenting on the research, Bupa Health Services resilience lead Stuart Haydock said: "Over the years we have seen businesses working to create a culture where people feel comfortable discussing their health in the workplace.
"It is clear, however, that an element of the stiff-upper-lip mentality persists and that more needs to be done to encourage employees to safeguard their health and wellbeing, ensuring they bring their best selves to work."
2,000 UK employees were surveyed for the research in September 2017 by Opinium on behalf of Bupa.
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