'Germs are loiterers. They can live and thrive on all kinds of surfaces, including - and especially - desks in the workplace.'

London - People are increasingly going to work when they are ill, especially in firms with a culture of long hours, new research has revealed.

A survey of 600 employers found almost a third reported a rise in so-called “presenteeism”.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said companies where workers go to work ill were more likely be hit by stress-related absence among staff.

Its study found workers were more likely to go to the office while sick if long working hours were seen as the norm, or where operational demands took precedence over employee wellbeing.

Almost three out of five organisations reporting an increase in presenteeism have not done anything to discourage it, said the report.

The Independent