While today might be #NationalSickieDay, research from leading job site, CV-Library, has found that the majority of education professionals (65.1%) actually only take one or two sick days a year. What’s more, only 14.3% said they have ‘pulled a sickie’ in the last 12 months.
The study sought to uncover just how many sick days the average worker takes each year, and the affect this has on their physical and mental health. Worryingly, two thirds (66.2%) of professionals in the sector said they feel too guilty to take time off when they’re genuinely ill.
When asked why they feel too guilty to call in sick, the main reason was because they didn’t want to leave their team in the lurch (39.2%). Other key findings include:
- Over one in four (29.4%) don’t like taking sick days as they believe it reflects badly on them
- A further 15.8% say their boss is not very understanding if they are ill
- And over one in 10 (15%) say calling in sick is frowned upon in their workplace
Additional research from CV-Library explored the impact that working overtime can have on people’s physical and mental health. According to the study, two thirds of education professionals (65%) confess to working more than their contracted hours, with 15.4% working an extra 15 hours each week.
Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, comments on the finding:
“We’re all guilty of overworking ourselves, especially if we’re trying to make a great impression. But the truth is, going into work when you’re not feeling well is counterproductive. When we’re unwell we find it hard to be as alert and it can be difficult to focus.
“What’s more, depending on the nature of your illness, you could pass this on to other members of the team or to the pupils, causing it to spread. Therefore, it’s best to take time out to look after your mental and physical health when you need to, so you can return to work feeling fresh and productive.”
Advice for professionals in the education industry who feel guilty about taking sick days, or have an employer who makes them feel bad for doing so:
- Speak to your manager: If you feel your manager is being unfair, try speaking to them about your situation, whether it’s problems with your physical or mental health. Together you might be able to come to an arrangement to suit both parties.
- Create work-life balance: If being overworked is affecting your health, try to create a better work-life balance. Be careful not to take too much work home with you in the evenings.
- Practise self-care: Take time for yourself before/after work and on your weekends. Do something you enjoy or that helps you unwind. Exercise can be a great way to de-stress and boost your mood.
- Find a new company: If your boss isn’t able to help or your existing company is not very supportive, it might be time to search for jobs elsewhere! Look for an employer who offers flexible working or mental health days and a culture that promotes work-life balance.
If it’s time to find yourself a new role, in a company that encourages you to look after your health, browse thousands of new vacancies on FE Careers every week!