Download: Most People Work When Sick

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(Courtesy: MGN Online)

A staffing service polled more than 400 workers in the U.S. to learn about sick habits.

OfficeTeam found 70 percent of professionals admitted they frequently go to work when they’re feeling sick.

Managers are aware of the problem.  More than 300 senior managers were surveyed.

Sixty-five percent said that sick employees report to work at least somewhat frequently.

“Many professionals fear falling behind or feel that they can’t afford to take a sick day, so they head into work when they are under the weather,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam, in a press release. “Managers should encourage their teams to stay home when they are sick. Let staff know that there’s nothing heroic about spreading colds and flus.”

OfficeTeam also offered these guidelines for the workplace managers:

  1. Remind staff to avoid spreading illness by staying home when sick
  2. Lead by example and resist the urge to come in sick yourself
  3. Allow employees to work from home if possible so a sick day doesn’t have to be used
  4. Encourage staff to clean common areas at work and make hand sanitizer available
  5. Have other employees ready to fill in for sick workers and hire temporary help if necessary



  • Elinor Johnson

    Offer better sick pay options, don’t assess “points” when people have a valid physician excuse. Do not require that employees have worked a specific number of months/year before they can take sick time.

    I went to work with pneumonia for over a week straight because I was a relatively new employee and as such was on probation and could not miss work for any reason what-so-ever or I would be let go, if I had had sick days I would have still had to come in for some of the time I was sick because that company only offered 5 sick days per year. That particular company did not have a points system like so many others do but I see my husband’s company assesses points for any work missed for any reason. People get sick, if you don’t want them to spread the germs and get the rest of your office sick and lose productivity over a large scale then offer a decent sick day policy.

    • Deborah

      I worked for a corporation and my benefits didn’t kick in till the 90 day “probation” period was up then it would start. Nowadays, with the health care act most can’t get that much of an option. Sad when people don’t have or lost they’re med. insurance.

  • Deborah

    If the worker doesn’t have sick pay and that person is sick, what are they supposed to do? They can’t afford to stay home, so there isn’t much choice in the matter.

  • Loren S.

    Too bad not only do employers NOT follow those suggestions, but they count it against employees for calling off when sick. If you have the flu and miss 3 days of work, you could get fired in some places.

  • BasicCitzen

    How about not mixing “sick time” with vacation time? Too many employers just give employees “PTO” (Paid Time Off)… which is your combined vacation and sick time. That means the employee has to choose between staying home sick (unplanned downtime) and planned relaxation/downtime.

    So what do they do? They come to work sick, as they are unwilling to sacrifice the planned vacation time (which many people plan the whole year at the beginning).

    Sadly, many of the companies that do this also have minimal amounts of “PTO”–sometimes as little as one week. When all someone has is one week off from work, they are not going to use it to be ill with the flu…the will come into work, spreading it around, and making others ill…

    Been there; done that…

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