Belinda Liversedge investigates solutions to tackle presenteeism at work.

When the pandemic first broke out in March 2020 and none of us understood its implications, a story really stuck in my mind because it nailed our attitudes to illness as much as it showed our confused minds. The email came from the head of HR at a manufacturing company and it was telling staff to go home if they had Covid, but that it was perfectly fine to be sneezing or shivering in the lunch queue — as long as someone else held their tray!

Two years into the Covid crisis, and as sickness absence numbers soared due to the Omicron wave, do our attitudes to sickness at work need examining?

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