9 In 10 Employees Come To Work Sick, Survey Shows

One-third of professionals polled by Accountemps said they always go to the office with cold or flu symptoms.

Cold and flu season has arrived, which brings up the age old question: Do you stay home or go to work when you’re sick?

In new research from global staffing firm Accountemps, 90% of professionals admitted they’ve at least sometimes come to the office with cold or flu symptoms. Of those respondents, 33% always go to work even when they’re under the weather.

Cold or flu
Click to enlarge image. (Source: Accountemps)

Among the 28 U.S. cities in the study, Charlotte, Miami (96% each), Austin, Chicago and Cincinnati (93% each) had the most employees who show up while feeling ill.

More than half of those who report to the office with a cold or the flu (54%) said they do so because they have too much work on their plate; another 40% don’t want to use sick time.

“Whether it’s due to large workloads, pressure from the boss or because they can’t afford to take time off, it’s all too common for employees to come to the office feeling sick when they really should be resting,” said Michael Steinitz, senior executive director of Accountemps, a division of Robert Half. “Staying home when you’ve got a cold or the flu is the best way to avoid spreading germs to others and fight the illness faster.”

Steinitz added, “Bosses should set an example by taking time off when they’re under the weather, encouraging employees to do the same and offering those with minor ailments the ability to work from home. Bringing in temporary professionals can keep assignments on track during staff absences.”

The survey also found that:

  • New York (67%), Minneapolis (66%) and Miami (64%) had the most respondents who report to the office while ill because of an overwhelming workload.
  • Phoenix, San Diego (48% each) and Miami (47%) professionals feel the most pressure from their boss to be present when sick.
  • More employees ages 25 to 40 (39%) reported always coming to work unwell than respondents ages 18 to 24, 55 and older (27% each) and ages 41 to 54 (26%).

The online survey was developed by Accountemps and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from 2,800 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments in 28 U.S. cities.

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