Survey: Nine of 10 Employees Come to Work Sick
Do your coworkers make you sick?
A survey from global staffing firm Accountemps shows that 90% of professionals admit they sometimes come to the office with cold or flu symptoms.
Of those respondents, one-third said they always go to work even when they’re not feeling well.
More than half of those who come to work with a cold or flu—54%—said they do so because they have too much work while another 40% said they don’t want to use sick time.
Roughly one-third—34%—said pressure from their employer caused them to come to work while sick, while 25% said it was because co-workers did.
The survey of 2,800 adult workers in 28 U.S. cities showed that Charlotte and Miami have the most employees who show up while feeling ill—96%—while tied for second at 93% was Austin, Chicago, and Cincinnati.
“Whether it’s due to large workloads, pressure from the boss, or because they can’t afford to take time off, it’s all too common for employees to come to the office feeling sick when they really should be resting,” said Michael Steinitz, senior executive director of Accountemps.
“Staying home when you’ve got a cold or flu is the best way to avoid spreading germs to others and fight the illness faster.”
Some employees feel pressure to come to work sick due to the cost of lost productivity to employers.
But Steinitz said bosses need to set an example for their staff.
He said managers should take time off “when they’re under the weather, encouraging employees to do the same, and offering those with minor ailments the ability to work from home.”
Additional survey findings include:
- New York (67%), Minneapolis (66%), and Miami (64%) had the most respondents who come to work sick due to an overwhelming workload
- Professionals in Phoenix, San Diego (48% each), and Miami (47%) feel the most pressure from their bosses to come to work sick
- More employees age 25 to 40 (39%) said they always come to work sick, more than those 25 to 44 and 55 and older (25%), and 41 to 54 (26%)
By coming to work sick, you risk exposing your co-workers to your illness. You should stay home if:
- You’re sneezing and coughing
- You have symptoms such as chills, fatigue, and body aches—early signs of the flu
- You have a fever
- You are vomiting or have diarrhea
- You are otherwise contagious
- Your medication affects your alertness
Here are some tips on what to do when calling out sick.
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