“Sick at Work”

Survey reports large percentage of employees to go work sick.

The Workforce Institute™ recently announced the findings of a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive®. According to the study “Sick at Work”, an overwhelming 98 percent of employees working full time have gone to work when they were sick. The survey of more than 1,000 U.S. employed adults demonstrates that “presenteeism” (sick employees showing up for work) is an issue impacting both employers and employees.

The “Sick at Work” survey also delved into the causes behind presenteeism and how employers can address the problem. The most-cited responses when asked why they go to work sick were: I feel guilty for calling in; my workload is too heavy; I save my sick time for personal reasons like family emergencies, sick children, parent care issues and other unexpected events; and I try to have perfect attendance.

The survey also found that presenteeism can have a negative impact on all employees in the workplace. Some employees agreed that when employees come to work sick, it creates a work environment where they are afraid of getting sick, it makes them upset with their employer for not encouraging sick employees to stay home, and it sets a precedent where employees feel like they must go to work even if they are sick. As part of the survey, employees offered advice to employers on how to create a healthy work environment. Employees suggested that they not be penalized for calling in sick, and that employers offer paid time off (PTO) programs that give employees a bank of time to use at their discretion.