Various recent studies suggest that British workers take twice as many sick days compared to Americans – costing the economy £15 billion a year. Not only do sick days cost the economy, they can also cost you your company’s reputation. A sick employee could mean missed work and deadlines, potentially causing you to lose customers and money!

So, why do people phone in sick?

Cough and Cold
This is one of the main culprits. The cold weather is partially to blame, but coughs and colds can spread like wildfire in offices – touching door handles, using the same hand towels and contact in general is mainly to blame. So, now that winter is upon us, make sure your staff are layering up! But also make sure you wash your hands regularly, clean worktops, door handles, and change your hand towels on a regular basis to avoid catching a nasty cold!   Top tip: Another great tip is to carry around hand sanitising gel and keep applying it to avoid germs spreading!

Stress at home or at work
A survey of doctors’ notes proved that mild mental health disorders, such as stress, anxiety and depression were responsible for 35% of all work-related sick cases. People can be stressed for a number of different reasons, whether they’re having personal troubles at home, can’t keep up with the workload, or are having a difficult time with other members of staff. Whatever the reason, just make sure you’re supportive and listen to their troubles, or suggest they speak to their GP – the worst thing you could do is tell them to buck and get back to work. For more information on how to approach stress in the workplace, have a look at our previous blog – Are you feeling the pressure? – Stress at work

Backache is usually caused by wrong posture, incorrect technique while lifting and problems like sciatica or slipped disc. To try and prevent your employees from experiencing this, make sure your office chairs are comfortable and offer enough back support. Ensure that your desks are set out properly, reaching for your mouse or telephone repetitively puts a strain on your back (and wrist!). For more information on how to prevent backache in the workplace, have a look at our previous blog – Watch your back![pl_accordioncontent name=”accordion1″ number=”1″ heading=”Faking it! The 10 most unbelievable excuses people gave when calling in sick” open=”no”]Another study found that one in eight sick days of leave taken were actually faked, and according to survey conducted by, here are the top 10 most ridiculous excuses!

  1. Oh, sorry, I just put a casserole in the oven.
  2. I got some plastic surgery enhancement done, but it needs a little tweaking to get right.
  3. I sat in the bathroom too long and my legs and feet fell asleep, so when I finally stood up, I fell over and broke my ankle.
  4. It was a big casino weekend for me, so imagine my surprise that I still had some money left to play with on Monday morning.
  5. I woke up in such a good mood that I didn’t want to ruin it.
  6. Sorry, I got lucky last night, but I woke up and have no idea where I am.
  7. I was taking my blood pressure with the machine at the grocery store and got stuck and couldn’t get out.
  8. I’ve got a gallstone and am trying to heal it holistically.
  9. My uniform was still wet, so I put it in the microwave to dry and it caught on fire.
  10. Really sorry, but I accidentally got on a plane and I’m not in town. [/pl_accordioncontent]

It’s obvious people ring in sick for a number of different reasons, but it’s important you do everything you can to stop this from becoming a regular occurrence and putting your job on the line! Your office should be a fun place where people enjoy to come and work, and not a bug-filled disaster!

If you would like more advice on illness, stress or backache at work, have a read of – Are you feeling the pressure? – Stress at work, or – Watch your back!. Or, if you feel your office chairs aren’t supporting your back enough, head over to Western Industrial Products and peruse the wide range of chairs and other office essentials.

Article compiled by: Laura Pay-Savage