Sick call

We care so much about our co-workers, we even want to share our illnesses with them. At least that seems to be one way of reading the results of a recent poll conducted by Shelton, Conn.-based work/life benefits company LifeCare Inc.

The online poll of employees at LifeCare’s 1,500 client organizations asked “When you go to work sick, what is the main reason?” It found 29% of those responding saying they went to work sick because they didn’t want to let down colleagues who depend on them.

Another 26% said they went to work sick because the politics or culture of their office made it too risky to take time off, while 15% said they were too busy to stay home. Many respondents indicated they’re trying to save their time off, 12% saying they were saving the days for childcare/eldercare emergencies and 8% saying they were saving the days for vacation time. That latter group makes the most sense to me–who wants to waste time off being sick?

Of those polled, 7% said they don’t work when they’re sick. Ah, the sensible 7%, willing to take a chance on letting down co-workers for a day or two rather than exposing them to their illness.

This year’s top reason for going to work sick was a change from the results when LifeCare asked the same question in 2006 and 2007, when “too risky to take time off” was the top response. Interestingly, LifeCare notes that the percentage saying they don’t work when they’re sick has stayed fairly consistent each year in that 6% to 7% range.

 

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