Employees Reveal Why They Work When Sick
A sense of
obligation to co-workers is the number one reason people go to work
when they are sick, according to a new poll by LifeCare Inc., a
provider of comprehensive specialty care services.
consecutive years that LifeCare has conducted the poll, this is the
first time this response topped the list. In the past two polls, "too
risky to take time off" was the leading response.
full results of the poll, conducted throughout the month of March on
LifeCare’s private Web site among employees of its 1,500
you go to work sick, what is your main reason?
people depend on me and I don’t want to let them down
– 29 percent
risky to take time off (office politics/culture) – 26 percent
busy to stay home – 15 percent
save my sick days for childcare/eldercare emergencies – 12
save my sick days for vacation time – 8 percent
do not work when I’m sick – 7 percent
– 3 percent
LifeCare’s poll, the top three responses were: too
take time off (31 percent); too busyto stay home (23 percent); and I
save my sick days for childcare/eldercare emergencies (18 percent). In
the 2006 poll, the top three responses were: too risky to take time off
(32 percent); other people depend on me and I don’t want to
them down (25 percent); and too busy to stay home (12 percent).
the percentage of respondents who do not go to work when
sick has always remained at the 6 or 7 percent mark, woefully below the
level that employers widely say they desire. "It’s well known
that employees who work sick are actually creating a greater risk for
their co-workers and a greater risk of lost productivity for their
organizations," said LifeCare CEO Peter G. Burki. "Even so, our
workplace cultures don’t seem to be getting the message
that taking a little time off when you’re ill is not only
but also acceptable."
that some organizations are more accepting than others when it comes to
sick time but the tide seems to be turning in the right direction. More
employers are taking up the position that sick employees should stay
home because of recent reports on the high cost of presenteeism
(working but not functioning at full capacity due to illness or other
personal distractions). Studies have suggested that presenteeism costs
U.S. businesses $150 billion or more annually in lost productivity.
LifeCare Inc., 2 Armstrong Rd., Shelton, CT 06484; (203) 226-2680, www.lifecare.com.