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Workers Struggle With Sick Colleagues During Flu Season

By    |   Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 10:49 PM

With flu season in full swing, office workers across the United States are dealing with sick co-workers on a daily basis. One report has some ideas on how to handle them in a diplomatic way.

The Wall Street Journal spoke with several American workers and asked them what they do when a co-worker is sick at the office.

One worker, Rosemarie Lopena in New York City, was worried when her boss returned to the office after being out with the flu for four days. She put a sanitary face mask on her desk.

"It was a joke, but it was also serious, because I was really scared," Lopena said.

Lopena's boss laughed when she saw the mask, and eventually decided not to wear it. But the pair did make sure phones and desktops were clean at all times.

In other offices, workers sometimes avoid getting too close to an ill colleague, while others confront them and ask them to go home to work — or at least go out in the hallway or restroom to cough and sneeze, rather than in a common work area.

Office workers are typically in close proximity to each other, and they touch the same surfaces over and over — doorknobs, copy machines, and tabletops. There's also the issue with shaking hands.

According to the Journal, 36 percent of American office workers might say to a sick colleague they would rather not shake their hand. Fifty-seven percent said they would tell an ill colleague to go home, while another 11 percent would be worried about catching the flu from someone but would not say anything.

Nicholas Turner, CEO of the Kaye/Bassman International Corp. in Dallas, combats the spread of the flu by placing hand sanitizer packets on his desk and gallon-size containers of it throughout the office, which houses 100 employees. He also hangs a sign on his door that asks sick employees not to come in.

Another method of dealing with someone who is sick at the office is to show empathy toward their illness, reports the Journal.

This winter's flu has reached epidemic levels, with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) saying in its most recent flu update that 56 children have died as a result of the virus.

This season's flu shot has been only 23 percent effective.

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With flu season in full swing, office workers across the United States are dealing with sick co-workers on a daily basis. One report has some ideas on how to handle them in a diplomatic way.
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2015-49-27
Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 10:49 PM
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