You may well have seen the stats released this work which shows that as a nation we take off more days sick than any other country in Europe. In fact 25% of all sickie days happen here. So what is going on? Maybe it makes sense to look at this alongside the unemployment figures also released this week. This shows that although overall there has been a small reduction in unemployment this is due largely to an increase in part time work and self employment. In other words as a society we are still hung up on ‘proper jobs’ even though all the evidence suggests that more and more people are not happy with this career pattern – and possibly therefore take off as many days as they can get away with. Many of the part time jobs will be taken by women who are developing their own work/life blend and a higher proportion of the self employed are also women – doing a similar thing. The sickie days might also be a consequence of the ‘presenteeism’ that is still rife in our workplaces. If employers utilised flexible working more widely then some of those issues might be less problematic.
What we are seeing all around us is a redefinition of what people want paid work to be and a value shift as to what we want to achieve in life.