What would it take to make you willingly give up some of your vacation time? Money? A corner office? A new title? For 42% of workers, they’d give up a day of that vacation they’ve been looking forward to for much, much less: to keep their sick coworkers home and out of contagion range.
In the seventh annual flu survey from Staples, we found (to our dismay and lots of office-dwellers’ dismay) that even though they know better, nearly 80% of employees still go to work sick. Look around your office. Of the ten people closest to you, only two are likely to stay at home and swill chicken noodle soup until they’re no longer bearing germs. And as a result, almost three-quarters of you have caught the cold or flu at work. Ouch… or should we say “Ah-choo”?
So what are the key takeaways?
Just because you’re at work doesn’t mean you’re productive. Even though more than half of employees say they go to work sick because it makes them seem “hardworking and committed,” your boss knows better: 67% of decision makers say a sick employee at work is worse for business than a sick employee at home.
But just because the boss wants you to take a sick day doesn’t mean you can read his mind. Even though business decision makers prefer their sick workers stay home to prevent the spread of illness through the whole office, they don’t always make that clear to employees. 74% of workers think employers should do a better job of encouraging workers to stay home when ill.
Ultimately, it comes down to YOU. You can cross your fingers as much as you want for your coworkers or employees to stay home when they get sick, but you can’t control them. Prioritizing your own health and wellness is key, and taking preventative measures like disinfecting your desk and work-related equipment can go a long way; after all, viruses can linger on those surfaces for up to three full days.
It remains to be seen how bad this year’s flu season will be, but it’s best to be prepared! Stock up on hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, and familiarize yourself with your company’s telecommuting policies if you still need to keep on top of things while you’re under the weather. Stay healthy—or stay away from the office!