Survey: Employees Want Coworkers with Flu to Stay at Home

Ninety-one percent of Americans said they want their coworkers to remain at home if they are infected with the H1N1 flu virus, according to a national survey released Oct. 20 by Mansfield Communications. Furthermore, 83 percent of respondents said they are likely to inform a fellow worker or senior management about a colleague in their workplace whom they think might be showing symptoms of the flu.

The survey interviewed 2,029 Americans with a subset of 1,232 full-time and part-time working Americans from Oct. 5-11, 2009. It was intended to continue to gauge the readiness of workers and their employers for the H1N1 pandemic.

“As the number of people infected with H1N1 continues to grow, parallel fear escalates and the potential for mob mentality begins to take shape,” said Rob Ireland, partner at Mansfield Communications Inc. “By having clear and definitive H1N1 policies and procedures in place and by becoming a trusted source of related information, leading companies can truly take care of their greatest asset – their employees.”

According to a survey conducted last month by Mansfield Communications, 69 percent of workers said they had received no communication about policies in the workplace pertaining to H1N1. The poll also found that a large majority (84 percent) of American workers believe the recession creates more pressure to show up for work – even if they are feeling sick.

Approximately half (47 percent) of the respondents said that they would still engage in public activities (such as riding the bus, picking up a prescription or grocery shopping) even when they were infected with H1N1 and required to stay home from their office due to a company-imposed quarantine.

However, the most current findings indicate awareness about the serious nature of the virus is on the rise as workers show concern for containing the spread of H1N1.

“Employers need to be vigilant in maintaining open communication with their employees during flu season and monitoring employee compliance with the organization’s sick leave policy,” Ireland added.

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