One In Four American Workers Say They Go To Work When Sick
February 21, 2014

One In Four American Workers Say They Go To Work When Sick

[ Watch the Video: Many Employees Go To Work Sick ]

Lawrence LeBlond for - Your Universe Online

The world has been a pretty sick place lately, with bird flu and coronavirus continuing to make headlines around the world. With winter in full swing in the US, seasonal flu is also a risk for millions of people around the country.

For those who do come down with the flu, often the best practice is to just stay home. However, a new NSF International survey has found that a staggering 26 percent of American workers admit to going to work despite being sick.

Although there are a number of reasons people choose not to stay home when they are ill, a majority of Americans report that the biggest reason they clock in is due to workload. Deadlines that must be met or work piling up is a significant factor for employees deciding to work under the weather (42 percent), while nearly as many (37 percent) report that they cannot afford to miss a day due to sickness.

Surprisingly, the survey team found that while 98 percent of Americans acknowledge that they judge co-workers who come into work when sick, the majority say their feelings are not generally negative. About 67 percent of those surveyed said they consider sick co-workers to be hard workers, while 16 percent think their colleagues are being selfish or don’t are about the well-being of their co-workers by coming to work sick. Also, 57 percent of those surveyed said they would tell a co-worker to go home if they were too sick to work.

Of those surveyed, the NSF team found that 25 percent of Americans say they go to work when sick because their employer expects them to show up no matter what. Also, men (33 percent) are twice as likely as women (17 percent) to go to work sick. Interestingly, 13 percent of Americans believe workers come to work sick because they don’t trust their colleagues to do their job for them.

The NSF survey also asked Americans about the behaviors they follow at work to avoid getting sick. The most common practice for avoiding sickness is washing hands (87 percent). Workers also said they use hand sanitizer (68 percent), avoid sick co-workers (54 percent), disinfect work spaces (44 percent), take vitamins or supplements (39 percent) and avoid common eating areas (32 percent). Only six percent of those surveyed said they do not take any precautions at work to avoid getting sick.

Younger workers ages 18-34 (53 percent) are far more likely than those 35-44 (42 percent) and 45-52 (36 percent) to disinfect a work space after a colleague leaves, the survey team found.

For those who wish to better protect themselves from getting sick, there are some general tips to be followed that can go a long way in keeping healthy this flu season. These include eating healthy and taking certified vitamins, disinfecting all surfaces at home and at work, not going to work when the onset of cold or flu symptoms arise, and not eating in or using common areas like break rooms and cafeterias.

Also, one common practice that should always be maintained is to always cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. As well, washing your hands regularly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds helps prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. Hand sanitizers, which can help when soap and water is not available, should not be used as a replacement for proper hand washing.