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GOT SNIFFLES?

Accountemps Survey: Managers Caution Against it, But Most Workers Say They Frequently Come to Office Sick

MENLO PARK, CA, Feb. 24, 2011 -- "In sickness and in health" may apply to marriage, but it's also an increasingly common workplace vow, a new Accountemps survey reveals. Seventy-six percent of employees admitted to at least somewhat frequently coming to work when feeling under the weather. One-third (34 percent) of workers interviewed said when a colleague comes in sick, they worry most about being exposed to his or her illness; only 8 percent are impressed by their coworker's dedication.

Colleagues aren't the only ones who wish their ailing coworkers would stay in bed. Half of employees said their managers encourage them to remain at home when they are unwell. Only 11 percent felt their bosses discourage them from taking time off.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with 437 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in an office environment.

Workers were asked, "How frequently do you go into work when you're feeling sick?" Their responses*:

Very frequently

42%

 

Somewhat frequently

34%

 

Somewhat infrequently

16%

 

Never

7%

 

Don't know/no answer

1%

 

 

100%

 
   

*These results are similar to a 2009 survey conducted by Robert Half.

Workers were also asked, "Which of the following best describes how you feel when colleagues come into work sick?" Their responses:

Worried about being exposed to their illness

34%

 

Concerned about their welfare

31%

 

No opinion/doesn't affect me

26%

 

Impressed by their dedication

8%

 

Don't know/no answer

1%

 

 

100%

 
   

Finally, respondents were asked, "Does your manager encourage or discourage workers to stay home when they are sick?" Their responses:

Encourages strongly

21%

 

Encourages somewhat

29%

 

Neither encourages nor discourages

36%

 

Discourages somewhat

7%

 

Discourages strongly

4%

 

Don't know/no answer

3%

 

 

100%

 
   

"Some professionals come into work sick thinking it shows dedication and will impress their managers, but that's not necessarily the case," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "Most people are well-intentioned -- they show up even when they aren't feeling well because they don't want to fall behind in their work or burden colleagues who cover for them. However, they risk spreading their illness to others and affecting the entire team."

Messmer added, "Employers should encourage staff to stay home if they are under the weather and provide tips on what employees can do to prevent the spread of illness in general."

Accountemps has more than 350 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at www.accountemps.com. Follow Accountemps for workplace news at twitter.com/accountemps.


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