Too many of us go to work while sick

When you are coughing up a storm and sneezing out snot, your recovery room should not be an office. The majority of us know this. In a recent survey of 1,000 full-time employees, 62% said they did not go to work while contagious. But that still left a worrying number of employees walking sick among us. Who are the 38% of workers going to work while unwell?

Women go to sick while contagious more than men

They are more likely to be women than men. Forty-two percent of women answered that they went to work when they knew they were contagious, compared to 38% of men. They were likely to be working in demanding jobs in close contact with strangers. People working in hospitality, medical and healthcare, and transportation industries had the highest likelihood of bringing their sicknesses with them to the job. Millennials and people born in Generation X right after them were more likely to work while sick than the youngest and oldest employees surveyed.

The overwhelming majority of employees — 82% — were most likely to go to work with a common cold. Only 19% were coming in to work with the flu or fever. But even if you think your sickness is just a cold, you should still prioritize your health over a deadline.  A common cold can be contagious. When you sneeze, you are releasing germ-filled projectiles into your colleagues’ space. Colds are contagious one day before you feel symptoms and can be contagious for about a week after.

To get sick employees to stay home, bosses need to be encouraging about employees taking time off. When employees worked for bosses that were “encouraging” about sick time off, their overall job satisfaction was likely to be higher than employees working under a boss with a “neutral” stance on sick time.