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Though managers caution against it, most workers say they frequently come to work sick

Seventy-six percent of employees admit to at least somewhat frequently coming to work when feeling under the weather, according to an Accountemps survey. One-third (34 percent) of workers interviewed said when a colleague comes in sick, they worry most about being exposed to his or her illness; only 8 percent are impressed by their coworker’s dedication.

Colleagues aren’t the only ones who wish their ailing coworkers would stay in bed. Half of employees said their managers encourage them to remain at home when they are unwell. Only 11 percent felt their bosses discourage them from taking time off.

Workers were asked, “How frequently do you go into work when you’re feeling sick?” Their responses:

  • Very frequently (42 percent);
  • Somewhat frequently (34 percent);
  • Somewhat infrequently (16 percent); and
  • Never (7 percent).

Workers were also asked, “Which of the following best describes how you feel when colleagues come into work sick?” Their responses:

  • Worried about being exposed to their illness (34 percent);
  • Concerned about their welfare (31 percent);
  • No opinion/doesn’t affect me (26 percent); and
  • Impressed by their dedication (8 percent).

Finally, respondents were asked, “Does your manager encourage or discourage workers to stay home when they are sick?” Their responses:

  • Encourages strongly (21 percent);
  • Encourages somewhat (29 percent);
  • Neither encourages nor discourages (36 percent);
  • Discourages somewhat (7 percent); and
  • Discourages strongly (4 percent).

“Some professionals come into work sick thinking it shows dedication and will impress their managers, but that’s not necessarily the case,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. “Most people are well-intentioned — they show up even when they aren’t feeling well because they don’t want to fall behind in their work or burden colleagues who cover for them. However, they risk spreading their illness to others and affecting the entire team. Employers should encourage staff to stay home if they are under the weather and provide tips on what employees can do to prevent the spread of illness in general.”

Source: Accountemps; www.accountemps.com.