Presenteeism on the Rise: Most Workers go to Work Sick

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rss newsA November study by Cintas Corporation has uncovered a disturbing feature of the American workforce: 84 percent of employed adults admit to having gone to work sick and 45 percent of themtake/took no precautions to avoid contact (shaking hands and other physical contact) with others. Coincidentally, 45 percent of employed adults also admitted to not warning others that they were ill.

“Workplaces can quickly become breeding grounds for bacteria when workers engage in presenteeism, or attending work while sick,” John Amann, Vice President, First Aid Safety at Cintas, said. “Since presenteeism reduces business productivity, it’s important for people to take the proper steps to protect themselves and others, like avoiding contact and warning co-workers of their illness.”

One bright spot in the survey found that while most Americans neither avoid the workplace nor warn others when sick, nearly all do at least something to protect the health of others. Precautions reported in the survey included: regularly washing hands/using hand sanitizer (77 percent), sneezing/coughing into sleeve (67 percent), bringing medication to work (54 percent), regularly wiping down workplace (34 percent). In response to the findings and in advisement to employers, Amann added, “Employers that are proactive about properly maintaining first-aid cabinets demonstrate that they care about workers’ health and wellness. By stocking cabinets for cold-weather months, employers can keep productivity on track, prevent the escalation of sickness, and reduce OSHA-recordable cases.”

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Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.