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72% US Workers Admit Working
Sick, Spreading Diseases

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
New Survey Shows People Going to Work Sick Much More Often than Previously Reported
And more than half said they felt guilty when they called in sick
01/19/2011 | Fred Yager | ConsumerAffairs.com
Remember those TV commercials of someone sneezing in an elevator and someone else yelling out, "Take a sick day, Pal?" Now might be a good time to resurrect them because a new survey finds that nearly three out of every four workers (72%) go to work sick and that this could turn into a huge problem as they spread their illnesses around the workplace.
Also, this recent finding by CareerBuilder.com shows a marked increase in people going to work sick compared to a similar survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Survey Finds Too Many Employees Working While Sick, 12/16/2010, ConsumerAffairs.com), that reported nearly one out of every two (46%) employees came to work even though they had a cold or fever and should have stayed home in bed.
The CareerBuilder study found that workplace pressures and what it termed "presentee-ism" may be causing workers to go in when they should have stayed home because more than half (55%) of workers said they feel guilty if they call in sick.
The CareerBuilder survey was conducted nationwide from November 15 to December 2, 2010 among more than 3,700 workers.
Here's the big problem. With so many workers heading to work ill, they are likely passing their germs on to others. More than half of workers (53%) said they have gotten sick from a co-worker who came to the office sick, while 12 percent said they picked up a bug from someone who was sick on public transportation going to or from work.
Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, says it's important for employees to take care of their health and the health of others by staying at home if they aren't feeling well. She emphasizes that even if workers feel pressure to be at the office, they should talk to their managers about staying home if they are sick, or ask about other options such as working remotely. She says most employers are flexible and understand that employees are more productive if they are feeling their best.
To help encourage a healthy workplace, nearly one-in-five (19%) employees said their companies provided flu shots at their office. Nearly two-in-five workers (38 %) said they were proactive and got a flu shot this year. When workers were asked what other ways they attempt to avoid germs, they said the following:
* I wash my hands often ­ 78 percent
* I carry hand sanitizer with me and use it often ­ 32 percent
* I regularly clean my keyboard, phone, and desk area. ­ 30 percent
* I avoid shaking hands with people ­ 15 percent
* I skip meetings where I know people are sick ­ 3 percent
Haefner offers the following tips for staying well at work:
* Don't share your germs: If you are sick, do your best to keep your germs away from others by staying home. If you absolutely must come into the office, try to work in a conference room or away from others so you don't spread your sickness. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.
* Keep it balanced: With many workers facing heavier workloads and longer hours, some may be feeling maxed out. Be sure to manage your stress and stay healthy by taking a break during the day, exercising or even practicing yoga or meditation.
* Talk it out: If you are concerned about taking days off work when you are ill, talk to your manager or HR department so that you have a clear understanding on how your sick days can be used. Offer to telecommute, delegate or call-in if necessary, but ensure you get as much rest as possible so you are back on your feet.
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics Univ of West Indies Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at:http://www.emergingdisease.org/phpbb/index.php Also my new website: http://drpdoyle.tripod.com/ Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health
Benjamin Franklin said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." 
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