The research of 1,511 people working in construction found that one third are afraid to take time off work for sickness and turn up for work when they should be recoveringat home.
"While many employers bemoan the cost of absence to their organisations, they fail to see the damage done by creating a culture where illness is seen as a weakness," said Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs at the Chartered Management Institute.
"The risk of mistakes or spreading sickness surely outweighs the short-term benefits of someone turning up for work when not fully fit."
Key findings from the 'Quality of Working Life' research shows that only 45 per cent in construction say they will be treated sympathetically if they are sick and 75 per cent are not operating anywhere near peak performance levels because of ill health.
Twenty per cent of managers believe their health is deteriorating and 38 per cent claim illness rates in their organisation have gone up over the last 12 months.