Tuesday, 3 November 2009


According to the findings of a research carried out by Mercer, in the UK, employees are more likely to be sick on Monday.

The research, conducted over a sample of 11,000 private sectors employees, revealed that 35% of all sick absence at work is concentrated on a Monday. Attendance is then likely to increase as the week goes on.

Curiously enough, perhaps, on Fridays the percentage of sickness related absence accounts jut for 3%.

Reading among the lines of these findings, it clearly appears that the real reason for this so high level of absence on Mondays should not be related to long weekend plans, in this case, in fact, also the Fridays ratio should have been rather high, on the contrary, as we have seen, it is even the lowest. Somewhat like: it’s really hard to come back work after a weekend at home (or elsewhere), but once I’ve found the courage and the bravery to come back, then I can also resist till Friday, and I’m more likely to do so, if I’ll be able to go work on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The real reasons for this trend are, then, very likely linked to the lack of motivation and engagement. Line managers have a fundamental impact on this, in fact, if it’s true, as it is true, that people leave their managers, not their organisations, it is also very likely that employees are unwilling to come back to work, on any given Monday, because of their Managers too and that should provide food for our thoughts.

Back to the findings of the research, January revealed to be the month of the year with the highest level of absence, with January 3 and 4 the best (or rather the worst) day of the year, in these days, in fact, nearly 5% of the whole private employee population was sick in 2008.

Health and safety measures, nonetheless, need to be not neglected. Nearly a quarter of ill related absence (24%) were, in fact, linked to musculo-skeletal causes, so that maybe appropriate actions could be taken by employers to reduce this percentage.

Other common and, to some extent, classic causes were cold, flu and viral infections in general, which accounted for 17% of the total absence number.

These findings are, by and large, related to short periods of absence. Longer period of absence are, instead, mostly linked to stress conditions, with an incidence rate of, if anything, a lower rate (4%).

Female workers have taken 24% more days than their male colleagues. Absence for stress related reasons, e.g. depression, were higher among women (more than twice) than in male workers.

On the other hand of it, males are the “champions” in muscle sprains, fractures and other physical problems, yes many of us don’t consider ageing consequences when playing football on weekends.

All of these findings are actually very interesting and, taking advantage of the developments in processing and data management, each organisation could try to monitor data and, hopefully, inform employees about health and safety risks, especially men, who believes they are invulnerable and don’t need care.