UK businesses are losing huge amounts of time and money as a result of wasted sick days, according to new research from recruiter Spring Personnel.
Over two-fifths (43%) of workers admitted that they have taken sick leave for a reason other than poor health and would have simply come in later had their company allowed them to.
With 131 million working days lost to sickness in the UK every year (Office for National Statistics), this new research suggests many of these days could have been avoided if businesses were to make their benefits offer more appealing and forward-facing.
Over three quarters (78%) of workers said the benefits they receive directly affect their loyalty to their employer and many would favour the option to take a more flexible approach to the working day. Over half (57%) would opt for summer working hours and nearly half (47%) said they would favour one day off a month for health appointments.
Over two-fifths (43%) of workers view the option of flexible working as important when taking a new job and almost half (44%) state that holiday leave is the most important benefit to consider.
Of those who value the use of flexitime working, a third (31%) would use it to avoid busy commuter times.
Alex Fleming, Managing Director of Spring Personnel, said:
“It seems that employers are missing a trick when it comes to benefits. Benefits should serve to increase motivation and make the lives of employees that little bit easier and as a result attract the best talent. It seems that many employers are, however, forgetting to consider the real needs and preferences of their own workforce.
“Employers can modernise benefits packages by creating a ‘pick and mix’ style approach where employees can choose a package to suit their lifestyle and stage of life. The ability to shape a benefits package will mean that it is most relevant to each employee’s circumstances and as a result increase productivity and company loyalty.
“A benefits system which allows workers to have the occasional lie-in or leave a little earlier for a sports match will result in a more attractive and transparent workplace and in turn reduce the number of unnecessary sick days.”