Staples released their seventh annual cold-and-flu-season survey, and it contains some surprises. For example, it turns out almost half of the respondents would gladly sacrifice one of their vacation days to a sick person to help keep the office free of his or her germs. (58% of the survey’s respondents are aware that the germs can survive up to three days on office surfaces and equipment.) Nonetheless, 80% of respondents reported going to work sick themselves.
The survey included 1,500 office workers in the United States. These were full-timers who spend a minimum of 50% of their work time in an office environment. 796 were standard employees, and 704 were categorized as decision makers.
The CDC warns that this year looks like it’s going to be a tough season for the flu, so staying healthy is on a lot of minds. Here are some takeaways:
Managers and bosses seem to be the people most acutely aware of germ containment.
47% of managers clean or sanitize their work space equipment on a daily basis. Only 34% of all workers do this.
44% of managers have called in sick not because they themselves were, but just to avoid catching something from sick coworkers. Just about half as many workers do this (22%).
75% of managers say someone coming in sick to work and incapable of performing at their usual level hurts a company more than their staying home and getting better. Last year, only 31% felt this way.
At the same time, employees wish their companies would try a little harder to keep them well.
Only 48% of workers work in places where disinfecting wipes are made available by the company.
77% of workers bring in their own wipes.
61% of workers would like their companies to offer flu shots to the staff.
74% would like companies to more seriously support the idea of staying home when you’re sick so you get the rest you need to bounce back. 41% said they worked sick last year. 52% said they felt they were viewed as being committed team players when they worked sick. 41% said there was just too much on their plate at the office to stay home for illness.
Managers play a key role in promoting a workplace environment where getting healthy is viewed as being a greater contribution to the company than toughing it out, working at a diminished level, and infecting others. This expectation should be set as a part of employee onboarding and reinforced regularly by company leaders. By continuing to set good examples and keeping a close eye on the staff to make sure they’re taking care of themselves when they need to, smart managers keep employees — and their company — healthy and strong.