Sick day? What's that?! Nearly 90 percent of office workers surveyed by Staples this year admitted to showing up on the job even when they knew they were contagious. That's up from last year's findings that 80 percent of employees went to work when they were under the weather.
Their reasoning? They don't want to fall behind. Nearly half -- 45 percent -- said an ever-growing workload convinced them commuting in was the right decision, according to the survey. It's not that they don't know it's not the healthy decision. Compared to last year, more employees said they understand how long the flu is contagious for, where germs congregate in the office and how long the virus can live on those shared surfaces. Still, sick coworkers are coughing and sneezing -- and infecting others -- in cubicles all over the country.
In addition to spreading germs, sick workers also aren't doing the bottom line any favors. If you're not feeling so hot, you'll probably be less productive than a typical day at the office anyway, a phenomenon known as presenteeism that ends up costing employers more than if you just took the day off, WebMD reported.
When deciding whether or not you're too sick to head into the office, ask yourself how you would feel if a co-worker showed up in your condition. If your symptoms are on the less repulsive end of the spectrum, consider how productive you'll be, how clearly you're thinking and whether or not that cloudy head could put others' safety or jobs at risk.
Of course, some workers find it financially impossible to take a day off. The U.S. doesn't guarantee a single paid sick day, while countries including Germany, Switzerland and Australia will comp five, HuffPost Business reported.
Employers can help set a good example by taking sick days their individual companies may offer and encouraging sick workers to tackle to-do lists from elsewhere if it really can't wait.
"In today's technologically advanced world, there is little need for office workers to be physically in their cubes while sick," Suzanne Lucas writes for Inc. "We'd all be a lot less sick if we stayed home when we were sick."