Nearly 90 percent of office workers come to work even when they know they are sick, according to the fourth annual Flu Season Survey from Staples, a leading provider of supplies that help keep offices healthy. The findings show a growing trend when compared to last year’s findings indicating 80 percent of workers come to work sick, and up from 60 percent in the 2011 Staples survey.
"Diligence early in the flu season ensures health and productivity throughout the season," said Lisa Hamblet, vice president for facility solutions at Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples. (Photo: Business Wire)
According to the survey, workers acknowledged that staying out three days when sick with the flu was appropriate. The majority of workers, however, stay out of the office for less than two days when sick, putting coworkers’ health and business productivity at risk. The primary reason most respondents cited for returning to work early was not wanting to fall behind on their workload (45 percent).
The survey does demonstrate that workers have a better understanding of flu prevention:
- 49 percent of respondents understand they are contagious with the flu virus for one day before symptoms develop and up to five-to-seven days after becoming sick, an improvement from 38 percent last year.
- 76 percent of workers correctly identified the break room as the least clean spot in the office, a sharp increase from 26 percent last year.
- 57 percent know that flu viruses can live on a hard surface up to three days, a slight increase from last year; however, 66 percent of employees still only clean their desks once a week or less, up from 51 percent last year.
“Flu season poses a big problem for businesses– each year it causes an estimated 70 million missed workdays and billions in lost office productivity. It’s critical that both employees and employers take notice and promote healthier habits,” said Lisa Hamblet, vice president for facility solutions at Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples. “That can mean arming a workforce with simple products like hand sanitizer to large-scale industrial cleaning products and techniques. Diligence early in the flu season ensures health and productivity throughout the season.”