Feeling Sick This Cold and Flu Season? Stay at Home, Say Coworkers

Survey: More Than Eight in 10 Canadian Employees Have Gone to the Office When Ill

Toronto, ON -- Being under the weather isn’t keeping workers out of the office, new research from staffing firm OfficeTeam shows. While 74 per cent of human resources (HR) managers interviewed said their company encourages staff to stay home when they’re sick, 87 per cent of employees have gone to the office anyway. Thirty-two per cent of those who showed up to work while ill did so because they felt well enough to do their jobs; another 32 per cent said they didn’t want to fall behind on assignments.

Workers also identified their biggest pet peeves during cold and flu season, with 42 per cent irked by those around them who don’t cover their mouth when sneezing or coughing, followed closely by 40 per cent who are most annoyed when someone comes in sick.

More than 300 Canadian 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




*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.

In a separate survey, more than 300 Canadian office workers 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


Your manager would frown upon you not coming in


You don’t get any sick days


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






*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.

“Although you may be feeling up to going in, staying home from work when you have cold or flu symptoms is not only better for your own well-being, but also shows consideration for your colleagues,” said Koula Vasilopoulos, a district president for OfficeTeam. “If available, take advantage of the opportunity to work remotely, and if you are unsure, discuss your options with your manager prior to going in. Doing your part to prevent spreading your illness will help keep the workplace healthy and productive.”

“Managers must set a precedent by avoiding the office when they’re under the weather, and encourage their employees to follow suit,” added Vasilopoulos.

www.roberthalf.ca="" />roberthalf.ca/officeteam. Follow @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter and the OfficeTeam Take Note® blog at roberthalf.com/officeteam/blog for career and management advice.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, [email protected]

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