We all know that person who sneezes around the office, nose running, and seemingly touching everything in sight. While people often think coming to work sick is a badge of honor — we all know this work martyr — it’s actually the opposite. It’s bad for business.

This matters now more than ever as the CDC announced that it’s experiencing a first in its 13 years of flu monitoring: the entire continental U.S. is the same color on their graph, an indicator of widespread flu activity.

“I think the simplest way to describe it is that flu is everywhere in the U.S. right now,” CDC Influenza Division Director Dr. Dan Jernigan said during a briefing. Because of this, employers are likely to have workers calling out for 4 days at a time, as CBS Chicago reported.

Andrew Challenger, the vice president of global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., estimates that if workers take four sick days to recover from the flu, the cost to employers could reach over $9 billion. When you think about the exposure that sick employees bring into the office (possibly infecting others) and the additional time it will take them to recover from having “pushed through” their sickness, you can see how that cost could be even higher.

Bottom line: if you’re sick, don’t go to work. Your employer (and colleagues) will thank you later.

Read the CDC’s official announcement here


  • Alexandra Hayes

    Content Director, Product & Brand, at Thrive

    Alexandra Hayes is a Content Director, Product & Brand, at Thrive. Prior to joining Thrive, she was a middle school reading teacher in Canarsie, Brooklyn.