Just as many Australian workers feel obligated to work despite being fatigued, many often feel similarly when fighting an illness.
Often referred to as Presenteeism, (not being fully functional whilst at work due to illness or injury), can cause serious performance issues that may go unnoticed by the impaired employee. In some cases, even using over-the-counter or even prescription medications can have side-effects that reduced the level of alertness even in medications that claim to be “non-drowsy”. Not to mention that working while unwell can also cause the illness to spread to others in the workplace, creating a domino effect. That is why, presenteeism is costing Australian businesses more than “absenteeism”.
Workers going to work whilst unwell, costs the Australian economy an estimated $34 billion every year, and is identified as being one of the main causes for the spread of flu. Now with Covid-19, the importance of making sure those who are showing up suffering impairing effects of illness or may have been in a known hotspot can, needs to be addressed by all Australian businesses.
Working while unwell is also likely to make the illness worse, extending the time required to recover, and creating sicker workplaces overall. Encouraging workers to recover from illnesses before returning to work is a benefit to all.