Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Being economic with your health

15 July 2014

Britain has gone from a nation of shopkeepers to a nation of shirkers says a new report.  We’d rather stay under the duvet than get out of bed and get behind the counter.  The cost to business is sickening.

There’s a reason why Tuesdays are the best days to go shopping.  You’ll have the shops to yourself.  Tuesdays are the quietest retail day of the week.  So, enjoy as much time as you like, trying things on, in and out of boutiques, department stores and shoe stores (or, in the case of men - games shops, car showrooms and back to the games shop).  We’re putting this phenomenon down to “Guilt Day”.  Tuesday is the day everybody feels compelled to go back to work, after pulling a sickie on Monday.  Eleven percent of workers admit they’ve called in sick just because it’s Monday.

Alright, the Tuesday stuff is largely conjecture on our part, but the bogus sickie thing isn’t - and the Monday statistics are genuine.  All those days off, allegedly ill in bed but actually sashaying around the shopping malls, are putting a dent in the British economy big enough to build more than three Queensferry Crossings, every year.

PwC, who we nostalgically remember as PricewaterhouseCoopers, say in their new report that sickness costs UK businesses £23bn a year.  Of that stupendous figure, illegitimate sickies waste nine billion pounds each year.

Employers are fielding a raft of reasons why they’re sitting in the boardroom all by themselves.  Some of the more unusual excuses from the research include: I was attacked by ants, my dog has eaten my keys, I got a rash from eating too many strawberries, and a male employee who told his boss that he had started the menopause!

This of course is not so much fun for the employer who is getting a hot flush on the other end of the phone, wondering how they’re going to cope with the non-appearance of shop floor and white collar workers alike.  Such is the level of the problem - one in three of the UK workforce are willing to admit they’ve pulled the proverbial sickie - that many big organisations actually factor for absenteeism, modelled on bitter experience.  However, with the size of average business getting smaller all the time, every employee is becoming more vital, and the problem is becoming more acute.

Bucking the trend are, of course, the self-employed and people at the top of the organisational chart.  This super-healthy segment of the workforce rarely see the inside of their eyelids.  They’re awake, alert and raring to go 24/7. 

The research boffins at PwC say that employers can mitigate sickie-related woes by making work more appealing.  They suggest solutions which include flexible working and ‘match day’ TV’s for big sporting events.  Interestingly, PwC don’t advocate Alka-Seltzer on Mondays, which is surprising, given that the single biggest reason for avoidable absenteeism is a ‘hang over‘.

On the positive side, searching online (when you’re supposed to be working) for “work excuses” returns around ten million hits.  If you look for “reasons to go to work”, you’ll get over a quarter of a billion hits.  Although, it’s perhaps not so reassuring to see that most of the latter sites are in German and Asian languages ………. 

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springfords blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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