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Feeling Sick This Cold And Flu Season? Stay Home, Say Coworkers
Survey: More Than Eight in 10 Employees Have Gone to the Office When Ill

MENLO PARK, Calif., Oct. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Being under the weather isn't keeping workers out of the office, new research from staffing firm OfficeTeam shows. While 82 percent of human resources (HR) managers interviewed said their company encourages staff to stay home when they're sick, 85 percent of employees have gone to the office anyway. Thirty-six percent of those who showed up to work while ill did so because they felt well enough to do their jobs; another 32 percent didn't want to fall behind on assignments.     

According to a new OfficeTeam survey, 82% of HR managers said their company encourages staff to stay home when they're sick. Yet, 85% of employees polled have gone to the office while ill anyway. 36% of those who showed up to work did so because they felt well enough to do their jobs; another 32% didn't want to fall behind on assignments.

But coworkers are not pleased: 42 percent of employees surveyed said their biggest pet peeve during cold and flu season is when someone comes in sick. Another 42 percent are most annoyed when those around them don't cover their mouth when sneezing or coughing.

View an infographic of the survey findings.

More than 300 HR managers were asked, "Does your company encourage or discourage workers to stay home when they are sick?" Their responses:

Encourages strongly


Encourages somewhat


Neither encourages nor discourages


Discourages somewhat


Discourages strongly




In a separate survey, more than 500 office workers were asked, "Have you ever gone to work when sick?" Their responses:







Workers who have gone to work when sick were also asked, "What is the primary reason you went to work when sick?" Their responses:

You felt well enough to work


Too much work -- you didn't want to fall behind


You don't get any sick days


You want to save sick time in case you need it later


Your manager would frown upon you not coming in






"Even if you're feeling up to the task of working, it's best to stay home when you have a cold or the flu," said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam. "Being out for a day or two can help the recovery process and prevent the spreading of germs to colleagues."

"Managers should set an example by steering clear of the office while sick and encourage their teams to do the same," added Britton.

OfficeTeam offers three tips for being a considerate coworker during cold and flu season:

  1. Check your options. If you're feeling well enough to complete projects but are still contagious, find out if you can work from home. If telecommuting is not an option or you're feeling too ill to tackle assignments, work with your manager to identify team members or hire temporary professionals to help during your absence.
  2. Be a good neighbor. If you absolutely must be at work due to a major deadline or meeting, avoid getting too close to others, wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing. Try to leave the office after the critical task is completed.  
  3. Lend a hand. Offer to fill in for coworkers when they're out sick. It's likely they'll return the favor the next time you need help.

About the Research
The surveys of HR managers and workers were developed by OfficeTeam. They were conducted by independent research firms and include responses from more than 300 HR managers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees, and more than 500 U.S. workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.

About OfficeTeam
OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, is the nation's leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has more than 300 locations worldwide. For additional information, visit Follow the OfficeTeam Take Note® blog at for career and management advice.

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SOURCE OfficeTeam

For further information: Cynthia Kong, (650) 234-6298,