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58% of Australians are too guilty to take personal leave — so a new Panadol ad says we need to ditch sickies and take a health day instead

Sharon Masige
* Pharma brand Panadol is encouraging workers to take 'healthies' — personal days off — to prevent them getting sick. * It comes after research Panadol-maker GlaxoSmithKline commissioned, which found three in five Australian workers decide to work when they are unwell, which makes their symptoms even worse. * The study also found 58% of Australians are too guilty to take personal leave, while 48% of employees said they pretended to be sick to get time off work because they felt stressed or anxious. * * *Taking sick leave makes sense when you’re sick but what about taking a day off to prevent you getting ill in the first place? That is an idea pain relief brand Panadol is pushing in a new advertising campaign to get Australians to focus more on their health and wellbeing. A study commissioned by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) – the pharma giant which manufactures Panadol – found three in five Australian workers decide to work when they are unwell, which makes their symptoms even worse. In fact, it might make them take even more leave than they would have needed. As a result, Panadol is calling for workers to take a ‘healthie’, which the it describes as a personal day used to prevent the onset of stress or an illness. It’s a more proactive substitute to taking a ‘sickie’ which is taken when you actually get sick. The study involved an online survey of more than 3,000 Australians between the ages of 18 and 75 to understand their everyday care and preventative pain relief behaviour conducted between February and March 2019.It found 58% of Australians are too guilty to take personal leave while 48% of employees said they pretended to be sick to get time off work because they felt stressed or anxious. This can have a bad impact on businesses as well as individuals, with presenteeism – when you go to work to be present but are unable to function at a productive level – costing the Australian economy more than $34 billion a year, according to a report commissioned by Pathology Awareness Australia, reported by the ABC. According to Medibank, while presenteeism is harder to identify than absentieesm, the cost it has to businesses “is estimated to be greater”. Comcare, a government organisation which supports healthy workplaces, found that if a company does not properly manage health and wellbeing, it is four times more likely to lose talent in the next twelve months. But the GSK study showed a mismatch between how employers and employees perceive care in the workplace. While 81% of employers claimed to care about the health and wellbeing their staff — saying they encourage their staff to take more control of their wellness at work — just 65% of employees. Many also noted that they don’t know of health and wellness benefits their companies offer.“It’s time for leaders to reconsider our attitude to wellness in the workplace,” WorkSmart Australia founder Michael Bunting, a leadership consulant, said in a statement distributed by Panadol. “While I’m sure many employers think they offer an excellent suite of health and wellness benefits, if staff are afraid to take a day off, companies across Australia need to address this. “Employers should embrace the “healthies” initiative and make sure they are seen to be doing so by their staff. That way they will be sending the message that it’s okay to take the time needed for self-care.” While the idea of self care is gaining traction around the world – taking a stroll, having a nice shower or getting a massage – less than half of Australians infuse it into their day, according to the GSK study.Baby Boomers were found to be the most active when it comes to self care, by making time for family and friends, doing at least one relaxing activity every day and maintaining a healthy diet. Younger generations might want to thinking about taking a page out of their book, and even consider taking a 'healthie'.
  • Pharma brand Panadol is encouraging workers to take 'healthies' — personal days off — to prevent them getting sick.
  • It comes after research Panadol-maker GlaxoSmithKline commissioned, which found three in five Australian workers decide to work when they are unwell, which makes their symptoms even worse.
  • The study also found 58% of Australians are too guilty to take personal leave, while 48% of employees said they pretended to be sick to get time off work because they felt stressed or anxious.

Taking sick leave makes sense when you’re sick but what about taking a day off to prevent you getting ill in the first place?

That is an idea pain relief brand Panadol is pushing in a new advertising campaign to get Australians to focus more on their health and wellbeing.

A study commissioned by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) – the pharma giant which manufactures Panadol – found three in five Australian workers decide to work when they are unwell, which makes their symptoms even worse. In fact, it might make them take even more leave than they would have needed.

As a result, Panadol is calling for workers to take a ‘healthie’, which the it describes as a personal day used to prevent the onset of stress or an illness. It’s a more proactive substitute to taking a ‘sickie’ which is taken when you actually get sick.

The study involved an online survey of more than 3,000 Australians between the ages of 18 and 75 to understand their everyday care and preventative pain relief behaviour conducted between February and March 2019.

It found 58% of Australians are too guilty to take personal leave while 48% of employees said they pretended to be sick to get time off work because they felt stressed or anxious.

This can have a bad impact on businesses as well as individuals, with presenteeism – when you go to work to be present but are unable to function at a productive level – costing the Australian economy more than $34 billion a year, according to a report commissioned by Pathology Awareness Australia, reported by the ABC.

According to Medibank, while presenteeism is harder to identify than absentieesm, the cost it has to businesses “is estimated to be greater”.

Comcare, a government organisation which supports healthy workplaces, found that if a company does not properly manage health and wellbeing, it is four times more likely to lose talent in the next twelve months.

But the GSK study showed a mismatch between how employers and employees perceive care in the workplace.

While 81% of employers claimed to care about the health and wellbeing their staff — saying they encourage their staff to take more control of their wellness at work — just 65% of employees. Many also noted that they don’t know of health and wellness benefits their companies offer.

“It’s time for leaders to reconsider our attitude to wellness in the workplace,” WorkSmart Australia founder Michael Bunting, a leadership consulant, said in a statement distributed by Panadol.

“While I’m sure many employers think they offer an excellent suite of health and wellness benefits, if staff are afraid to take a day off, companies across Australia need to address this.

“Employers should embrace the “healthies” initiative and make sure they are seen to be doing so by their staff. That way they will be sending the message that it’s okay to take the time needed for self-care.”

While the idea of self care is gaining traction around the world – taking a stroll, having a nice shower or getting a massage – less than half of Australians infuse it into their day, according to the GSK study.

Baby Boomers were found to be the most active when it comes to self care, by making time for family and friends, doing at least one relaxing activity every day and maintaining a healthy diet.

Younger generations might want to thinking about taking a page out of their book, and even consider taking a 'healthie'.