National Sickie Day – 1st Feb

National Sickie Day

Are we pulling less ‘sickies’ during the national lockdown?

‘National Sickie Day’ was created around 7 years ago and is normally the first Monday in February. It is traditionally the day where the highest number of people call into the office with their best excuses as to why they can’t make it in.

With work life having been dramatically altered over the last year due to the pandemic and national lockdowns. The majority of us are now working from home rather than in the workplace, so does this mean that we are now having less sick days now that we are already at home?

Professor Cary Cooper from Alliance Manchester Business School recently told The Metro that the pandemic and the subsequent recession that this has caused will mean that people will now take less time off work. This is down to economic uncertainty so people will go into work or continue to work even if they are sick.

Professor Cary has coined this as ‘presenteeism’. In the present context, people are still showing presenteeism even when working from home as they respond to emails around the clock and outside of the standard 9-5 hours due to job insecurity.

A short survey conducted found the reasons why people may be going off sick more or less during the pandemic.

Why people may be going off sick less

  • People are leaving the house less. Not travelling on public transport means less germs are being spread
  • People are more hyper aware of cleaning hands and the spreading of germs and viruses so they are picking up less bugs and viruses
  • People are already at home and more willing to work from their laptop rather than in the workplace when sick
  • Reduced hours, furlough, less opportunity to earn money may mean people will work when they’re sick 
  • Lack of government help with earnings means that people will work through a sickness or Covid

Why people may be going off sick more

  • People are hyper aware of spreading germs and viruses so may stay off work now when unwell rather than attend the workplace
  • People have more awareness of their mental health and self care so will take a sick day rather than struggle in to work
  • It’s become easier to take a sick day now we’re all working from home with most employers accepting a text message or email rather than the traditional call 
  • People experiencing Covid related symptoms and need to self isolate

Overall it would appear that people are taking less time off sick from work during this pandemic mainly due to job insecurity and that there are less opportunities to earn money. Hopefully with the introduction of the covid vaccines, Lockdowns will be able to phase out and industries such as hospitality, beauty and construction will be able to resume some level of activity and increase job security and the economy in general will start to stabalise.




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