The study from People HR has found that of its respondents who forced themselves to go in to work while feeling under the weather, more than one in ten (15 per cent) experienced judgement from colleagues and a fifth (20 per cent) had pressure from their boss.
Thirty-six per cent said that their boss believed they were lying when previously calling in sick, and 19 per cent were too scared to talk to their boss about needing time off for a health-related issue.
For those who did call in unwell, more than half (58 per cent) said they felt guilty for taking the time off.
Sat Sindhar, managing director at People HR, said: “In our experience, companies who encourage people to rest when they are physically or mentally unwell, benefit from lower staff turnover and better productivity.
"Besides, is it really responsible to let an ill person serve food, operate dangerous machinery, or run payroll?
"It concerns me to see how many employees across the UK are hesitant to call in sick due to guilt and pressure from their employer. We need to break the taboo of sick days, and be seen encouraging employees to make that decision about their health, knowing they will be supported if and when they do.”
For many, office benefits would help to improve their wellbeing and help employees perform better, they said.
Nearly two fifths (38 per cent) said they would consider workplace benefits more valuable than receiving a higher salary.
Personal benefits such as a day off for birthdays (39 per cent), unlimited holiday (35 per cent) and something as simple as fruit being provided (27 per cent) proved to be more popular than what most employers currently offer - discounted membership at nearby gyms (12 per cent).
Over two thirds of residents (68 per cent) said that their current employer does not offer any benefits or perks in order to improve staff wellbeing.