Health Systems, Workforce Health | By | 04/25/18 | 3 Minute Read

Why Employees Should Take Their Sick Days

Flu season was especially bad this year, making it likely that some of your employees were hit hard with the virus. And though peak season is over, there’s a “second wave” flu going around. But even with the flu’s debilitating symptoms, did you catch some of your team still trying to show face in the office instead of calling in sick?

According to a recent survey, one in four American employees admit going to work while sick. What’s more, 60 percent of American employees feel uncomfortable taking time off when they’re feeling ill, or for wellness-related checkups. But companies factor sick days into employees’ benefits packages for a reason—a healthy employee is a productive employee!

Here are five reasons why both you and your employees might consider taking a sick day:

They’ll recover faster. Two of the most important things employees can do for their bodies when sick: rest and drink lots of liquids. Other ideas to help your employees recover might be to read a book, enjoy hot tea and soup, or draw a warm bath with Epsom salt or essential oils.

Other employees will stay healthy. The flu is contagious from as little as 6 feet away, so when your employees come to work ill, they’re increasing the changes that their colleagues will get sick too.

They can increase productivity and lower company costs. Being sick at work likely won’t help with your employee’s productivity levels, as working while ill can reduce their “presenteeism,” and eventually may affect the company’s bottom line. In fact, the Journal of Population Health Management reported that work losses related to health issues cost companies up to $260 billion per year.

Employees can help lower healthcare costs. Workers who don’t have paid sick days are more than twice as likely to seek emergency room care since they aren’t able to take time off during normal business hours. As a result, these expensive emergency trips could ultimately replace standard primary care appointments, and may lead to higher health insurance costs for the company.

Employees will be healthier overall. Encourage employees to take a sick day even if they are not down with a fever. They can use the day off to make proactive decisions about their health, such as visiting primary care physicians, an OB-GYN, the dentist, or the ophthalmologist. In fact, some companies are acknowledging the potential benefits of incorporating an Unsick Day, or a paid day off that encourages employees to attend health or wellness-related appointments.

This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

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