WELLNESS
10/17/2014 08:12 am ET Updated Oct 17, 2014

Fewer People Are Going To Work Sick

Jamie Grill via Getty Images

Despite mounting worries about spreading germs -- colds, flu, enterovirus, even Ebola -- too many of us still show up to work sick. In fact, 60 percent of people say they do, according to a new survey from Staples.

It's the fifth year in a row the office supply company has surveyed workers about flu season, but the very first to report a decrease in the number of people on the job who are under the weather. Last year, nearly 90 percent of survey respondents said they went to work sick.

More employers and employees are acknowledging that sick workers don't make for great workers. Coming to work sick, called presenteeism, generally results in less productivity, according to the survey. Nearly 90 percent of managers said they encourage their reports to stay home and more than a third of workers said they felt they were less than half as productive as usual when they went to work sick.

Presenteeism may cost an employer more than if you'd just taken the day off, WebMD reported. Yet 40 percent of survey participants reported feeling like too much was going on at the office to skip a day, and 31 percent felt their bosses appreciated their presence, even when sick.

If you're not convinced your productivity will suffer, and you're still on the fence about commuting in, consider how you would feel in a co-worker's shoes: Would you want to be next to someone working through these symptoms? Would these symptoms put someone else's safety or job at risk?

Of course, some workers find it impossible to take a sick day for financial reasons. The U.S. doesn't guarantee paid sick days, unlike many other developed countries, and about four in 10 American workers are not covered by any sick leave plan, HuffPost Politics reported.

Work, of course, also isn't the only place where groups of people congregate with the potential to spread germs. It's probably worth using the same rules of thumb to decide whether or not you really want to go to, say, the movies, to church or to get on a plane. Not only will you get better sooner by allowing yourself to rest, the rest of us will all be very thankful.

HuffPost

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