Missing out on the opportunity to catch up on the always-entertaining-for-one-reason-or-another The View, 72 percent of workers go to work when they are sick, according to a new survey released today by CareerBuilder. Evidently, “presenteeism” and workplace pressures outweigh the desire to see the ridiculous charming banter between Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Whoopi Goldberg, as more than half of those workers (55 percent) say they feel guilty if they call in sick.
(Side note: I can’t help but notice that this 72 percent overlaps slightly with the 29 percent of workers who admitted they have faked an excuse to call in sick in a previous CareerBuilder survey. I’d love to get a peek inside the minds of those who show no remorse at calling in sick when they aren’t, but just don’t feel right about it when they are.)
While I understand feeling too guilty to take a sick day, is there no shame when it comes to putting your co-workers at risk of getting sick? More than half of workers surveyed (53 percent) said they have gotten sick from a co-worker who came to the office sick.
Did anyone else not see Outbreak?! Seriously, take those sick days, y’all.
According to Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, it’s important for employees to stay home if they aren’t feeling well – for the sake of their health and everyone else’s. “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,” Haefner stated in a press release about the survey. “Most employers are flexible and understand that employees are more productive if they are feeling their best.”
A lucky 19 percent of employees surveyed said their companies provided flu shots at their office, and 38 percent took matters into their own hands, getting flu shots on their own.
The most common way workers say they are trying to avoid germs is by washing their hands often (78 percent say they do this), followed by carrying hand sanitizer (32 percent), cleaning their work area (30 percent) and avoiding handshakes (15 percent). Skipping meetings to avoid sick co-workers (3 percent) rounded out the top five.
Don’t Be a Victim: Protect Yourself from “Presenteeism”
Use the following tips from Rosemary Haefner to help yourself – and others – stay well at work:
- Don’t share your germs: If you are sick, do your best to keep your germs away from others by staying home. If you absolutely must come into the office, try to work in a conference room or away from others so you don’t spread your sickness. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.
- Keep it balanced: With many workers facing heavier workloads and longer hours, some may be feeling maxed out. Be sure to manage your stress and stay healthy by taking a break during the day, exercising or even practicing yoga or meditation.
- Talk it out: If you are concerned about taking days off work when you are ill, talk to your manager or HR department so that you have a clear understanding on how your sick days can be used. Offer to telecommute, delegate or call-in if necessary, but ensure you get as much rest as possible so you are back on your feet.