Reduction in Sickness Levels during the Pandemic


I work for 2 local authorities and we have experienced a significant reduction in sickness across both organisations since lockdown. I am keen to hear from colleagues as to what their thoughts are on the reasons for this. The obvious reason is that many employess and managers have been working from home and this potentially has masked other absences but I'm interested in possible other factors?

Many thanks,


  • People aren't going out as much so they are picking up fewer germs?

    It would be interesting to see if things like colds, stomach bugs etc go down whilst migraines, headaches, chronic conditions stay the same and mental health and muscular-skeletal issues go up (exacerbated by lockdown working from home). Just a theory but I bet there's plenty of data out there to look at in the bigger organisations.

    As the majority of our staff have been on furlough we have had practically no sickness absence reported in the last few months.
  • HI Peter
    We have noticed the same and especially in our production sites were they have not been able to work from home. I think one reason is that there has been a greater sense of community spirit and team work. Demand for one of our products went up quite a bit at the start of lockdown and staff were working different shifts than what they might usually but they all just seemed to muck in and get on with it. Whereas before if they fancied a wee day off they would have had no problem just phoning in "sick" but maybe the thought of letting the team down stopped them, either that or the hassle of all the extra bits to the return to work form put them off!
  • Hi Peter,

    Yes, we have been the same too. I guess less people are reporting this working from home.

    With some illnesses I would imagine it would be that you are able to continue working from home with the flexibility of doing different hours and no commute.

    Another reason I think is due to all this social distancing we are less inclined to catch something. I know by now I have suffered several times with colds/ bugs , however have had nothing from lock down. (hopefully haven't jinxed this!).

    We also carried out a staff survey on working from home and found that the majority of employees stated that they felt less stressed working from home and their mental health is the best it has ever been.

    I guess a lot of these factors would help. Is WFH the way forward.
  • In reply to Claire:

    I was looking at this last week as well, very little absence, although we don't have much anyway as a lot of our staff will just work at home if they have a sniffle etc. My first thought was that we aren't spreading our germs about both in the office and socially so there is just less illness about. I'd be interested in what trends other organisations have seen.
  • We've had just the same too: very very little sickness absence. I believe I read somewhere that they thought that not going out so much or seeing so many people and also the regular handwashing would help with that. I also wonder whether with WFH, people who might be feeling a bit ropey might feel better with a few more hours sleep and not commuting and so feel up to carrying on work.

    Unfortunately for the chap who opted to have his fourth Monday off with a 'stomach bug' in 12 weeks, it made it stand out all the more!
  • In reply to Jacqueline:

    Thanks Jacqueline
  • In reply to Tracey:

    Thanks Tracey
  • In reply to Claire:

    Thanks Claire
  • In reply to Elsa Knight:

    Thanks Elsa
  • In reply to Keith:

    Thanks Keith
  • In reply to Alys Martin:

    Thanks Alys
  • Before lockdown hygiene was pretty poor. People sneezed and coughed openly in public and especially on crowded public transport facilities, no hankies, no effort to prevent the spread of germs. People did not wash their hands regularly, and sanitizing was something that they did in hospitals.

    Since lockdown we have seen the complete reverse of the above. I look forward to a germ free and healthy winter.
  • I also work for a LA and we've had a significant drop. As most of our employees work from home, we are aware that if they feel a bit under the weather, they may still work whereas before when they would have worked in an office, they would have taken the day off as sick.

    There has been a significant reduction of sickness in our key worker employees as well and I think it's because they all banded together, plus they had a lot of public support so felt appreciated in their roles.

    Homeworkers have been able to adjust their hours to fit around their other commitments and everyone has accepted that someone may not be available between the 9 to 5 traditional hours.

    However, I expect an increase if and when everyone returns to the office. The services have been able to run remotely so I'm sure that they'll be some resentment if there is an expectation that everyone returns to a 9 to 5 office role.
  • Johanna

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    4 Aug, 2020 09:30

    We've all been prioritising our health and trying not to catch germs? Also not travelling by public transport has made a huge difference to me personally. Getting more sleep too as not having to get up at crack of dawn for commuting... (am wfh.)