August 24th is the day most people miss work, study shows

Maybe it was the inexplicable desire to ask for a day off before the May Day holiday. Maybe it’s really due to a stomach bug, or even the latest villain: the coronavirus.

Of course, it could just be a late-summer mood swing.

Whatever the reason, August 24th is the day most American workers tell their bosses they won’t be able to work that day.

And what day is it that workers are regularly absent from work? February 13th, usually around the time of the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day.

The issue is because.

The dates were discovered by Flamingo, a company that helps companies manage absences and sick leave, after analyzing statistics on how many sick days U.S. workers took over the past five years.

More than half were due to an upset stomach, almost always vomiting or diarrhea.

These inconveniences outweigh the coronavirus, which is responsible for a quarter of absenteeism.

Six percent of office workers cited injuries such as fractures or sprains as the reason.

Beyond physical ailments, Paaras Parker, director of human resources at Paycor, a payroll software company, said her company has seen a significant increase in employee absences due to anxiety or stress issues, and in Flamingo’s studio, This proportion is close to 9%.

“They don’t necessarily have strep or a fever, but they need a day to dedicate themselves to,” he said.

Encouraging workers to excuse poor mental health for absenteeism is a “welcome change” in workplace attitudes after worker burnout peaked this year in the wake of the pandemic, Parker added.

The advent of remote work is also changing the culture of sick absences.

Employees who feel unwell but don’t have the option to work remotely are nearly twice as likely to come to the office with symptoms than employees who work hybrids, according to a WFH Research survey.

That bodes well for problems in the health sector, as orders to return to offices tighten and office densities increase, favoring breeding grounds for infectious diseases such as the flu or the common cold.

“It’s clear that when people have a cold or a cough, they’re more comfortable working from home,” said Jeff Levin-Scherz, director of population health at insurer WTW, formerly Willis Towers Watson.

“If they feel in good physical shape and can work, then they feel more comfortable knowing they’re not giving anything to anybody.”

But for employees working in the office, he stressed the importance of practicing good hygiene, such as hand washing, and urged his company to regularly check air quality, practices that have become routine during the pandemic.

“In an age when many knowledge workers are not in the office at all, these measures to create healthier workplaces can actually act as a lure to encourage employees to come forward,” Levine-Shieltz said.

Access to perks like healthy food or exercise facilities can serve the dual purpose of improving employee health and attendance, he said.

Either way, it’s never a good idea to undermine an employee’s excuse to take sick leave, Parker said.

“I think our job is not to guess why a person is taking time off, but to recognize that people need time off and create environments and policies that allow them to exercise that right when they need it,” he said.

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