The first Monday in February is National Sickie Day, the day experts believe more people will ‘pull a sickie’ and choose the duvet over the day-job. Mustard has been conducting a series of polls in the run-up to National Sickie Day to establish the truths behind the claim that the first Monday in February is the day when absenteeism from work will hit an annual high.

In a poll of 1,985 UK workers, two in five (41%) readily admitted to pulling sickies at work, while 59% said “I never have and never will pull a sickie from work”. Here we see significant differences by age, with three in four (76%) of those aged 55+ agreeing with this statement.

We found that 18% said Monday was the day of the week they were most likely to “pull a sickie”. One in ten (9%) chose Friday (extending the weekend at the front end), with Wednesday (4%) being next most popular (the middle of the week break).

We would love to hear from you if your business or organisation witnessed a spike in absenteeism on Monday 3rd February.

In a separate poll of over 2,300 consumers conducted across the whole of the of the UK population, 3% admitted to “Having a day off sick when I was probably well enough to work” in the last month alone. Extrapolate that to the whole UK population and the scale of the problem (and what it is costing UK businesses) becomes evident. With ONS data this month indicating that there are 30.15 million employed people in the UK, this represents nearly a million people ‘pulling a sickie’ in January alone. It is suggested National Sickie Day – the first working day of February – could be costing the economy at least £30million.

Equally concerning, within the same poll, 4% admitted to having cried at work within the last month – including 6% of females and 7% of those aged 18-34.

What else is driving the surge and scourge of the Sickie?

The mornings are still dark and cold. Various bodily organs may be in a state of shock and regret after a weekend of excess to celebrate the end of an austere January. On that note, congratulations to anyone who completed their dry January on behalf of Cancer Research UK.

But now is the time to ask the harder questions about whether any truly engaged, motivated, valued and rewarded member of staff would even consider a Sickie in the first place.

Are your colleagues true brand advocates, living and breathing the vision and values, and understanding the role they play in delivering an aligned brand and excellent customer experience?

Whenever we conduct brand tracking surveys through our Brand Alignment Monitor we insist on including a “cell” of staff to gather their feedback on delivery against the vision and values. Staff are always the first to know. The insides will always inevitably leak out. We often see vast differences in opinion and perceptions between the ‘internal’ and the ‘external’, and between different roles, departments and offices / regions.

Mustard is passionate about delivering insightful employee engagement research, that actively benefits the business. From surveys to surgeries, our expert team of employee research specialists understand many of the sensitivities of delivering staff research. We have an array of techniques that drive positive engagement in the consultation at the front end, and ownership and action at the back.

The poll results in full:

National Sickie Day Research

For more information on how else Mustard makes a difference, please contact Richard on +44(0) 161 235 5270