Why Are 66% of Employees Uncomfortable Taking a Sick Day?


A photo of a sick person at work

Erica Marois of 8×8 investigates why almost two-thirds employees feel uncomfortable taking sick leave.

According to a survey conducted by OnePoll, 66% of Americans working from home say they believe that taking sick days for anything less severe than COVID-19 would be looked down upon by their employer. Is this good news or bad news? It depends on your perspective.

On the one hand, despite the challenges of 2020, employees are more productive than ever. And because most are able to work from anywhere now, minor illness, appointments, or other personal disruptions don’t require employees to take time off. On the other hand, some would say that this stat points to a larger problem: a lack of trust.

Why are two-thirds of employees uncomfortable admitting they don’t feel well enough to do their best work? Is an uncertain economy to blame? Perhaps, in part, but according to Dr. Richard Claydon, there’s much more at play here.

Claydon, who’s a behavioural scientist and Chief Cognitive Officer at EQ Lab, has devoted much of his career to studying what’s the coined the trust crisis. And more specifically, organizational misbehaviour.

When you look at this survey through the lens of his research, it seems that organizational misbehaviour is probably the main reason why so many employees don’t feel comfortable taking sick time when they need it.

Last month, 8×8 had a fascinating conversation with Dr. Claydon on the 8×8 Podcast, An Open Conversation. A large part of that discussion was centred on organizational misbehaviour, and what companies can do to rebuild trust with their employees and customers.

As with any challenge, the key to finding solutions is first understanding the causes. Dr. Claydon said that impression management is to blame for a lot of the dysfunction and distrust that occurs within organizations, and it’s only gotten worse with COVID-19.

So, rather than having open conversations about things that need to change, or speaking up to set boundaries that lead to better work, employees stay silent.

“If you’re the person who’s constantly speaking up and saying I don’t think this is the right way to do things, you get seen as negative pretty quickly. And you’re not going to be looked at for the next set of promotions. It’s a career risk,” says Dr. Claydon.

“And there’s another form of impression management happening during the pandemic with people working from home. Employees are trying to make themselves more visible, so they end up in more meetings and calling more meetings.

“Rather than speaking up and saying, I need time to do my work, employees feel they have to be seen, which is hugely dysfunctional.”

Listen to the episode for a fascinating take on the science behind trust, the path to more functional teamwork, and ways companies can encourage more honest communication.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of 8×8 – View the original post

To find out more about 8×8, visit: www.8×8.com

About 8x8

8x8 8x8 is transforming the future of business communications as a leading Software-as-a-Service provider of voice, video, chat, contact centre, and enterprise-class API solutions, powered by one global cloud communications platform.

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Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.

Published On: 28th Jan 2021 - Last modified: 2nd Feb 2021
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