Off Work Sick or Sick Of Work
At Enigin we have a pretty fit crew – very few days are taken off as sick days – unless someone is very ill or contagious (when they may be sent home for the benefit of all).
If you are an Enigin Distributor running your energy saving business, or any other manager or businessman, you must ask yourself why an employee is off sick, is it genuine? Are they really ill or swinging the lead?
Well, a group of Swedish researchers have discovered that some employees are facing extreme workplace stress, having trouble in their relationship with their boss, or having trouble getting along with fellow workers and hence are more likely to take sick leave.
The researchers analysed 546 instances of sick leaves taken by 432 Swedish workers at six different workplaces. In the first day or two of sick leave, the researchers telephoned the people who had called in sick and asked them about several different aspects of their work situation.
The study revealed:
- People who called in sick were more likely to have experienced psycho-social problems at work in the past few days than people who did not.
- The most common psycho-social problem reported by the people who had called in sick was a ‘very stressful work situation, indicated by more tasks, fewer staff, or a larger field of responsibility than usual.’
- Problems in one’s relationships with colleagues and bosses were also associated with a higher incidence of sick leave.
- Other stressors, such as harassment, discrimination, and being assigned ‘unpleasant tasks’ were not associated with an increased incidence of sick leave.
Are these workers physically sick or just trying to cope?
One explanation for the findings is that employees, when faced with a very stressful work situation, either consciously or unconsciously used the sick time for a ‘mental health day’ so they could face their jobs relatively refreshed after sick leave. It could be that stressors such as harassment and being assigned unpleasant tasks did not encourage people to call in sick because a few days’ reprieve might not make much difference-the tasks or the discrimination would still be there when the worker returned.
Another explanation is that those in highly stressful jobs are more likely to get sick. This wouldn’t be the first study to find a correlation between stress, the immune system, and illness. The most common reasons workers called in sick were colds, flu, and headaches.
Has stress from your job made you sick?
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