June 17, 2024

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Adrian Lewis, Activ Absence comments on TV binge viewing leading to sickies & what employers can do

New research from the Radio Times[i] has found that almost one in five people (18%) have said they had specifically called in sick so they could watch TV at home. They also found that half of TV viewers said they had binged more than eight hours of a show in one sitting.

According to Adrian Lewis, director at Activ Absence employers need to ensure their staff know that pulling a sickie that isn’t genuine is unacceptable, so they don’t start to see rise in absenteeism.

Adrian Lewis says, “Binge watching box sets such as Killing Eve and Game of Thrones has become the new way to watch TV but it’s also leading to new excuses for people calling in sick.

“Whilst employers would be hard pushed to get an employee to admit this – it’s something they need to be aware of and ensure they have strategies in place for tackling absence that isn’t real sickness.”

Absenteeism can be a major headache for employers as not only does it cost money, but it also impacts productivity and employee morale. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development[ii] the cost of sickness absence per employee is £554.

It’s crucial for employers to understand the root causes so they can offer support if needed, or issue warnings if it’s clear that people are not actually sick.

Adrian Lewis says, “Employers need to track absence to work out the impact it’s having on their business and develop strategies and policies to deal with it. Having the right technology systems to support them can make it far easier.”

“Absence management systems give managers immediate insight into who has been off and enables them to spot patterns such as someone regularly calling in sick on a Monday or someone taking a lot of sick leave. This can provide valuable information for managers conducting return to work interviews with employees who have been off sick. Such systems also provide transparency about who is in the office, on holiday or off sick and this can be a useful deterrent for people, who may think twice about pulling sickies.”


[i] https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/jun/10/one-in-five-tv-viewers-have-rung-in-sick-to-binge-watch-a-show

[ii] https://www.tensor.co.uk/news/annual-costs-of-sickness-absence-for-uk-businesses-reach-554-per-employee-cipd-report-finds/