WWS (Working While Sick)

If you don’t do it, you probably know somebody who does.

Instead of staying home, they bring their sneezes, coughs, moans and germs with them.

This excessive devotion to the job apparently is widespread.

Michigan-based NSF International reported today on a survey it commissioned of employed Americans to understand their views about going to work sick.

More than one in four — 26 percent — said they always go to work when they’re sick. Another 34 percent said they’ll stay home sick, but only when experiencing an illness at its worst.

Of those who work in spite of illness, 42 percent explained they do it because they have deadlines or would get too far behind if they stayed home. Thirty-seven percent said they can’t afford to miss work. Twenty-five percent say their boss expects them to show up for work no matter how sick they are. (Apparently, more than one answer applies to some workers.)

The survey also found that nearly all of us — 94 percent — take some sort of precautions when coming into contact with a sick colleague. The most common tactics are washing hands (87 percent) or using hand sanitizer (68 percent), and more than half (54 percent) say they avoid sitting or standing near a sick co-worker. Some disinfect their workspace when a sick colleague leaves (44 percent), take a vitamin or supplement (39 percent) or avoid hanging out in common areas such as break rooms or cafeterias (32 percent).

Most of us are tolerant of colleagues who come to work sick, the survey found. But not everyone feels that way: Sixteen percent say that colleagues who come to work sick are selfish and don’t care about the welfare of their co-workers.

If you are interested, a full report on the survey is here:

What about you? Do you come to work sick? Know people who do? And how do you feel about it? I’d be interested in your comments.

Contact me at: jlundy@duluthnews.com.

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