7 in 10 workers go to work sick: Survey

Employers should encourage use of sick days, telecommuting
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 04/28/2011

Many workers go into the office when they are feeling under the weather, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.

Sixty-six per cent of the 550 Canadian survey respondents said they go to work when they are sick.

Workplace pressures and presenteeism may be causing workers to go in under the weather, as more than 60 per cent of respondents said they feel guilty if they call in sick.

With so many workers heading to work ill, they are likely passing their germs to others. Fifty-eight per cent of respondents said they have gotten sick from a co-worker who came to the office sick, while 21 per cent said they picked up a bug from someone who was sick on public transportation going to or from work.

"It's important for employees to take care of their health and the health of others by staying at home if they aren't feeling well," said Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of human resources at CareerBuilder.ca. "Even if workers feel pressure to be at the office, they should talk to their managers about staying home if they are sick or ask about other options such as working remotely. Most employers are flexible and understand that employees are more productive if they are feeling their best."

There are many things employers can do to help encourage a healthy workplace, according to Haefner:

•Provide flu shots at the office.

•Communicate with employees about the use of sick days and opportunities to work from home when feeling sick.

•If an employee absolutely must come into the office, offer a conference room or space away from others for her to work.

•Keep the workload balanced to keep stress levels low.

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