One in three UK workers admits they skip off work

Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:45pm EDT
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By Alice Baghdjian

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - One in three British workers admits to skipping off work -- mainly because they are bored with their jobs, according to research by global consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

A third of 1,190 respondents to a survey conducted by PwC admitted that they had taken time off work under false pretenses. That prompted the consultants to conduct a second separate survey, which received responses from 1,200 people who all admitted they had skipped off work.

More than 80 percent of those who admitted having "skived" off work said they offered illness as an excuse for their absence and 61 percent said they ditched work because they were bored or depressed.

The research also revealed that 15 percent of those who skipped off work felt they had been working hard and deserved the time off, whereas 21 percent "pulled sickies" in order to tend to "family responsibilities."

"Absenteeism costs British Business around 32 billion pounds ($51.6 bln) a year, but our findings suggest a large chunk of this loss is preventable. If people are bored and depressed with their jobs, employers need to think creatively how they can get people back in gear," PwC partner Neil Roden said.

He said that introducing or enhancing flexible working arrangements could make a difference and that ensuring people felt they were not being taken for granted was also important.

"Some 15 percent of those who provided false excuses felt they deserved the time," Roden said. "With UK absenteeism levels double those recorded in the US, it is vital British employers get to grips with the problem to ensure the UK remains competitive."

Four out of 10 people who shirked work faked symptoms around the office before "pulling a sickie" and half of all excuses involved "gastro-related" problems. Inventive excuses included "falling out of the loft" and being "beaten up by a bouncer."   Continued...

<p>A man looks towards the Canary Wharf financial district from Greenwich Park in South East London November 2, 2010. REUTERS/Toby Melville</p>