Sneeze, wheeze: Many of us go to work sick
Darcy Wintonyk, ctvbc.ca
Published Friday, March 18, 2011 3:38PM PDT
You wake up feeling cold. Then you start sneezing and coughing. After thinking about staying home from work, you decide better of it, dragging yourself into the office and weakly pushing through the day until you come home and collapse on the couch.
Sound familiar? If it does, you're not alone.
According to a new study by Angus Reid, 61 per cent of British Columbians still go to the office when they're under the weather.
The study found a variety of reasons for why people decide not to stay home, including an overwhelming feeling that work is simply too busy for them to be away.
Others thought staying home would be viewed negatively, and they would be judged by their peers and superiors because of it.
Guilt also proved to be a powerful motivator in the study, says life coach Julia James, who studied the results.
"People don't want to add to their colleagues' workload, and knowing that someone else would have to take on that work makes them feel bad," she told ctvbc.ca.
Interestingly, the majority of employers polled didn't object to sick workers staying home for the day. In fact, 76 per cent preferred it.
James says it's because smart managers know it's better for sick employees to stay home because they'll be more productive when they return.
"When people are on the job when they're sick the performance level goes way down," she said, adding that sick people pass on their germs, which in turn makes more people ill.
"The bottom line is that it doesn't help the company. A sick workforce isn't a productive one," she said.
James said employees should talk to their bosses when they're feeling unwell, and never to feel bad or apologize for it.
Instead of feeling selfish, James says people should actually feel like they're doing their company a favour by keeping away.
"If you take care of yourself early on when you first realize that you're sick you'll actually take less sick days in total so you'll have more days that you'll be productive at work," she said.
The study also found that people who do choose to stay home are still paying attention to what's going on at the office.
Sixty five per cent of Canadians still check their work email and voice mail at home.
"We have a hard time turning off," she said.