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In Remote-Work Era, Bar for a Sick Day Moving Higher, Even for COVID-19

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jan 14, 2022
Working From Home

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that remote workers are taking fewer sick days even if they are actually sick, and even if they have COVID-19. For some workers, it's because they don't think their level of discomfort justifies taking a day off, especially since they don't have to commute (or even, depending on preference, get dressed at all). For others, however, it is because their company thinks this way and asks their workers to  tough it out. Similarly, many employees look at their workload and decide that there's simply too much to do, so they can't afford to take any days off. And then there's the fact that a day off at home may not be as satisfying for those who work there, and some people generally don't like sitting around with nothing to do. 

One reason for this attitude is that people are increasingly getting used to remote work. Another is that, due to vaccinations and the slightly-more-mild-but-still-quite-dangerous Omicron variant, workers are not as debilitated as they would have been before. 

Medical professionals have said that while people with mild symptoms can continue working from home, rest is recommended if they want to optimize their recovery. That many choose not to rest is reflective of an overall tendency for people in the United States not to take sick days even when they need them. The Journal said that 51 percent of companies offer at least eight sick days separate from other paid time off; on average, Americans take about four per year.  

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