Study shows how many workers still go to work when unwell

 Fears of being seen as ‘unreliable’ and having too much work to do,  were all reasons given for not calling in sick (
Fears of being seen as ‘unreliable’ and having too much work to do, were all reasons given for not calling in sick (

A poll, of 2,000 employed adults, found many still feel the need to “power through” – with attitudes seemingly returning to their pre–pandemic ways.

And 38 per cent of those with co–workers make a point of coming in just to show them and their boss they are genuinely unwell.

Fears over being seen as “unreliable” (42 per cent), leaving others in the lurch (41 per cent), and having too much to do (34 per cent) are also reasons for not calling in sick.

The study, commissioned by cough brand Bronchostop, also found 21 per cent want to show how dedicated they are, while 18 per cent don’t trust others to do their work properly.

But 59 per cent also feel the best way to get over a cold is to carry on regardless, and 61 per cent convince themselves they’re not actually that ill.

However, 43 per cent think it’s “selfish” when colleagues come in when ill–with coughing found to be the biggest annoyance.

Not covering their mouth when coughing or sneezing (46 per cent) and failing to wash their hands afterward (36 per cent) are also common frustrations – as is not using tissues (35 per cent).

Farah Ali, superintendent pharmacist and spokesperson for Bronchostop, said: “In the last couple of years, the perception of the common cough or cold has changed.

“With more flexible working in a place and a heightened focus on wellbeing, many feel as though colleagues who are feeling under the weather should be staying at home to rest and recuperate.’’

The study also found 49 per cent of adults working with colleagues wouldn’t have any qualms telling a poorly co–worker they should have stayed at home.

And possibly with good reason, as 48 per cent believe they’ve picked up a cold from a colleague in the past 12 months.

However, many of those polled don’t seem to apply the same level of understanding to themselves.

During the last 12 months, the average worker has been to work an average of four times with symptoms such as cough, runny nose, headache, or sore throat.

The research, carried out through OnePoll, also found 24 per cent of those who’ve had a cold have actively tried to keep their condition a secret.

Wanting to be seen as trustworthy (31 per cent) and working in a competitive job (29 per cent) are among the reasons why.

Farah Ali added: “This peak cough and cold season, it’s so important to look after yourself when you feel common cold symptoms such as a cough coming on and to take precautions if you do need to go to work.

“That might be taking some appropriate medicine, keeping your distance from co–workers, and remembering to wash your hands to keep germs away.”

Top 10 gripes about co-workers with colds:

  1. Coughing close to you

  2. When they don’t cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing

  3. When they don’t wash their hands after they’ve coughed or sneezed

  4. When they don’t use tissues

  5. Coughing loudly all day

  6. When they don’t wash their hands regularly

  7. Sniffing

  8. When they don’t take time to clean surfaces –like their desk, keyboard etc

  9. When they moan

  10. The act of them coming in at all

Top five tips from superintendent pharmacist, Farah Ali, to treat your cough without powering through:

  1. Make sure you’re drinking lots of water.

  2. Have some hot drinks, with added honey and lemon, to soothe your throat (however, this is not suitable for children under years old).

  3. Get plenty of rest and stay at home if you’re feeling too unwell to do daily activities.

  4. If you’re experiencing a continuous cough that’s proving hard to shift, pick up an effective cough remedy.

  5. If you’re experiencing any kind of pain or high temperature, consider taking a painkiller – speak to a pharmacist if there is any concern.