Getting a day off because you are sick sounds pretty normal. But constantly calling in sick will put both you and your employer in an awkward situation.


While individual sickness absence does not seem to matter much, the estimated number of working days lost in the UK labour market in 2016 reached a staggering figure of 137.3 million. This is a huge loss for employers. Because, if an employee is constantly on sick leave, the workflow would be seriously disrupted. The entire company will have to scramble back and forth to find temporary replacements.

No employees want to call in sick, but they need help from the employer’s side to ensure a healthy workplace. Let’s take a look at the main reasons why people called in sick to identify the source of this issue.

Sickness absence in the UK

Minor illnesses


Minor illnesses are categorised as coughs and colds. These illnesses account for as much as 33.1% of cases, making them the most common cause of sickness absence. Just a coughing fit or a passing cold will be enough to throw your body off balance, reducing its overall productivity. However, because these illnesses are so common and are very costly for companies, HR departments around the country are adopting measures to monitor employees’ days off because of common colds to minimalize the cost. If your employees have caught a cold, you could tell them to check this guideline to see if they are able to work or not.

Sickness absence in the UK

Musculoskeletal pain


18.6% of all cases are related to musculoskeletal pain, making it the second most prevalent reason. Musculoskeletal pain refers to back pain, neck pain, and upper limbs problem. This kind of pain is very annoying. Even if you do manage to get to work, it would be difficult to be an effective employee with a constant pain pestering you. This would mean your productivity will suffer greatly. To help alleviate this pain, it is recommended that your workplace should support ergonomic solutions. Ergonomic accessories and furniture not only help reduce incidents of "sitting" diseases such as RSI, back pain, or neck pain but also streamline your working process to improve the overall productivity.

Sickness absence in the UK

Mental issues


Mental issues are just as damaging as physical ailments. 7.7% of all sickness absence cases are related to mental issues such as depression, stress, and anxiety. To help your employees to manage stress, closely monitor the workload of your team members. Make sure that it does not get too much. Also, it would be nice if you could talk to them, find out what they find unsatisfactory in the workplace. These initiatives would create a safe zone to help them overcome a stressful day at work.

While the statistics might seem depressing, it actually isn’t. 2017 was a huge improvement compared to the year before, as days lost per worker was at its lowest since 1993. This shows that office environments are changing to become friendlier towards employees’ health. You can become a part of this change for the better as well! Start with creating an ergonomic and healthy workplace for your employees, and you will see the results very soon after.