Many employers are making changes to working patterns in an effort to combat long-term sickness absences.
Long-term absence levels have risen 20% in the last year along, according to the CIPD, a professional body for HR and people development.
The annual survey, released by CIPD and Simplyhealth has revealed that on average, employees are absent for 7.6 days each.
And absence levels are highest in the public sector (8.7 days per employee per year).
Many managers (85%) have readjusted working patterns and environments to manage long-term absence levels, up from just 65% last year.
And over 70% of organisations said introducing flexible working has had a positive effect on absence levels.
Dr Jill Miller, CIPD research adviser and co-author of the report said: “It’s fantastic to see employers recognising the benefits of increased flexible working opportunities.
“Changing demographics, including more people with caring responsibilities and the abolition of the default retirement age, means more people are looking to work untraditional hours. Offering more flexible working opportunities also helps to respond to the needs of the UK’s ageing workforce, in which older employees will increasingly need and want to work in different ways and with different hours as they move towards retirement.”