while you’re sick’ attitude begins to hit organisations in the
combined with a culture where ‘illness equals weakness’, is
hitting organisations across the North West. According to research,
lack of care for staff is taking its toll in terms of productivity,
commitment levels and lower motivation.
The ‘Quality of Working Life’ report reveals that 26% of
managers in the North West believe their health is deteriorating.
41% claim illness rates in their organisation have gone up over the
last 12 months. But 1 in 3 managers in the region claim a culture of
not taking time off work for sickness exists in their organisation.
Only 51% of employees feel they would be treated sympathetically if
they were ill.
The report, published by the Chartered Management Institute and
Simplyhealth, makes it clear that sickness at work does not always
translate into sick leave from work. For example, 40% of those
reporting symptoms relating to stomach bugs in the past year did not
take sick leave and only 14% suffering from stress took time off
from work, despite 1 in 3 citing stress symptoms.
The impact of this attitude is seen through declining performance,
waning enthusiasm and increasing levels of suspicion. Based on the
views of 1,511 managers, key findings include:
Poor productivity:- only 35% of respondents claim to be
operating ‘at or near peak productivity’. With 67% in the
region claiming their productivity was reduced by ill-health, this
shows the extent to which health and productivity are inextricably
Commitment to the cause:- 1 in 2 managers said they were not
motivated’ about work, with 46 per cent in the North West
suggesting they worked beyond contract hours because of ‘work
volume’ and ‘deadlines’. Fewer are prepared to
up lost time’ too, with only 34% working 2 hours or more per day
over contracted hours, down from 45% in 2000.
Motivation matters:- 71% suggest that ill-health reduced ‘enjoyment
of their job’ and although 60% say their ‘organisation is
committed to employee well-being’, only 46% in the North West
agree that their line-manager cares specifically about their health
Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs at the
Chartered Management Institute, says:- “While many employers
bemoan the cost of absence to their organisations, they fail to see
the damage done by creating a culture where illness is seen as a
weakness. The risk of mistakes or spreading sickness surely
outweighs the short-term benefits of someone turning up for work
when not fully fit.”
Further analysis uncovers a series of concerns caused by excessive
hours at work. Focusing on work and careers, 45% in the region
suggest productivity is affected by long hours and 48% think it
restricts opportunities for professional development – a concern
given the current skills crisis. From a personal perspective,
figures show that additional hours affect relationships (with
children, 63% and friends, 59%) and health (54%).
Des Benjamin, chief executive at Simplyhealth, says:- “Too
many organisations make changes or force behaviours based on narrow
definitions of cost. They fail to reflect on the impact
unsophisticated reporting of employee health levels can have on
performance levels. I
n an era of cost reduction, any initiative to
improve the health and welfare of employees should be based, not
just on an attempt to reduce absence levels, but on the significant
productivity benefits that can be gained from higher levels of
Letters to Editor:- "Liverpool Hauntings"
"My name is
John Reppion and I am currently working on a Liverpool edition of
prestigious “Haunted” series. The book will be released in 2008 to
coincide with the Capital of Culture. I should point out that my
work is in no way connected to that of Thomas Slemen and my approach
is quite different from his. I have written in the past for
publications such as Fortean Times, Strange Attractor and the
Anomalist and produced articles on both Hale’s giant John Middleton
(which can be read via this
link) and Joseph
Williamson “the Mole of Edge Hill” amongst others.
I'd love to
hear from anyone who has any ghostly accounts of their own to share
or some haunted places they'd like to recommend for inclusion.
I'm aiming to make the book as factual as possible, including as
much of the documented history of the buildings/areas/people as I
can find and interviewing witnesses personally if possible."
Very best, John,
Greenhouse effect… Gigantic Inflatable Plants and Flowers
Sketches of inflatable flowers
and plants © Spacecadets
exhibition opens from 1 December 2007 giant inflatable plants and
flowers will be sprouting in The Lowry’s foyer spaces. Visual
artists, Spacecadets, have been commissioned to transform the space,
resulting in a visually stimulating installation of oversized exotic
The exhibition launches on 1 December 2007 with an opportunity for
visitors to get creative at a colourful art workshop to design and
make their own exotic pot plant to take home. A range of events
accompany the installation, from Family Sundays and Art Zone holiday
activities for families, to adult weekend courses and exciting
workshop sessions for schools. The oversized Greenhouse will be a
unique and stunning extra attraction for visitors to enjoy over
Christmas, February half-term and Easter holidays.
Spacecadets took their inspiration for the overgrown plant life from
The Lowry building itself, believing that it resembles a gigantic
greenhouse. The imaginary plants take all kinds of different forms –
some are animated, opening and closing like Venus fly traps, whilst
others will be illuminated from within, creating a radiant spectacle
of inflatable art.
Spacecadets are also working with Salford Ranger Service and a group
of adults at Buille Hill Park, together with children from All Souls
RC Primary School in Salford and Irlam Endowed Primary School to
create artwork in response to the themes of the Greenhouse
exhibition - from designing and making fantasy flowers to decorating
remote control cars with plant life to race around the building! The
project concludes with a celebratory garden party at The Lowry for
Greenhouse runs from Saturday 1 December 2007 to Sunday 20 April
2008. It will be open from 12pm to 4pm daily expet holidays (Xmas
Day, New Year's Day etc.) See The Lowry
website for more
Location:- The Lowry, Salford Quays, Greater Manchester.