According to a new poll by LifeCare, Inc., “Other people depend on me and I don’t want to let them down” was the most-cited (29%) reason.
In the three consecutive years that LifeCare has conducted this poll, this is the first time this response topped the list. In the past two polls, “too risky to take time off” was the leading response. Not that that sentiment was far from people’s minds – at 26%, it was the second-most cited rationale.
The poll, conducted throughout the month of March on LifeCare’s private Web site among employees of its 1,500 client organizations, also revealed the following reasons from coming in to work sick:
- 15% – Too busy to stay home
- 12% – I save my sick days for child-care/elder-care emergencies
- 8% – I save my sick days for vacation time
- 7% – I do not work when I’m sick
- 3% – Other
Interestingly, the percentage of respondents who do not go to work when they’re sick has always remained at the six or seven percent mark, woefully below the level that employers widely say they desire. “It’s well known that employees who work sick are actually creating a greater risk for their co-workers and a greater risk of lost productivity for their organizations,” said LifeCare CEO Peter G. Burki. “Even so, our workplace cultures don’t seem to be getting the message through that taking a little time off when you’re ill is not only wiser but also acceptable.”
In LifeCare’s 2007 poll, the top three responses were:
- too risky to take time off (31%)
- too busy to stay home (23%)
- I save my sick days for child-care/elder-care emergencies (18%).
In the 2006 poll, the top three responses were:
- too risky to take time off (32%)
- other people depend on me and I don’t want to let them down (25%)
- too busy to stay home (12%).