A huge number of Brits are working through pain, with a quarter reported to be taking painkillers due to a work-related injury, new research suggests.

The survey of 2000 British workers carried out by National Accident Helpline, which offers advice and support to people who’ve been injured through no fault of their own, found that a third of Brits are regularly working through pain as they cannot afford time off.

The research suggests while economic inactivity in the UK has hit crisis point, with record-long sickness impacting 2.8 million Brits, not enough attention is being paid to the many Brits who are working with pain, which can often lead to worsening long-term conditions.

Surprisingly, over half of Brits surveyed said they have never thrown a sickie in their career, while 28% said they have begun using remote working days as a substitute for sick days.

A quarter of those surveyed also report having or having had computer vision syndrome, an umbrella term for eye problems developed from using screens, often for too long without taking a break.

Key findings:

  • Over a third of Brits (37%) have worked through pain as couldn’t afford to take time off.
  • Almost a third (28%) have worked from home when they should have otherwise used a sick day.
  • A quarter of Brits 26% have or have had computer vision syndrome.
  • Quarter have taken painkillers to work due to working through a work-related injury.
  • More than half of Brits have never thrown a sickie (56%).

John Kushnick, Legal Operations Director, commented:

This research paints a bleak picture of the health of workers in the UK. Ahead of the general election in the UK, all eyes will be on which party, puts workers’ rights at its core, to tackle record sickness rates both inside and outside the workforce.

John Kushnick, Legal Operations Director, National Accident Helpline

When National Accident Helpline asked more about respondents’ working patterns, they found that a fifth of Brits spend more than 5 hours sitting down a day if they are working from home, while a third say they are sitting down for more than 5 hours a day if they are in the office.

A fifth of employees said they do not take or have any lunch at all , while the vast majority of Brits do not take more than 45 minutes for lunch.

It also appears that more than a third of those surveyed report doing less than an hour of exercise a week, with 5% saying they exercise less often than weekly.

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.