What is a Sick Day for Remote Employees?

Posted on

August 3rd, 2021


The pandemic altered every business regardless of industry or size. Companies assembled their plans for a remote workforce and found new ways to operate when states began issuing stay-at-home orders. Part of this challenge was determining how to handle leave requests and attendance.

Why Are Remote Employees Working While Ill?

Working from home blurred the line between work and personal time, particularly for employees that don’t have a dedicated office. It made it easy to work outside of usual hours and increased the perception of always being available. Even before the pandemic, many employees would come to work while ill or return to work before fully recovering. Some of this is because many employees fear judgment from their colleagues or employers if they call out sick. Others feel the pressure to always be available to their customers.

How COVID-19 Changed Sick Days

The pandemic has further complicated what it means to take a sick day. In a traditional office setting, employees should stay home when ill to prevent spreading illness. Now that they’re already in their home, many feel guilty for requesting a sick day. One survey found that almost half of employees believe other illnesses are insignificant compared to COVID-19. Two-thirds of the respondents believe their employer would frown upon any employee who takes a sick day for anything less severe than COVID-19.

The Cost of Presenteeism

Presenteeism, working while ill, comes with a hefty cost. Productivity decreases nearly threefold when employees work while ill or in pain. They’re also more likely to need to take a sick day if they work while ill, further tanking efficiency.

Many businesses have responded by offering more paid time off during the pandemic or implementing personal days. Other companies are tackling the issue with a shift in company culture. They’re training management to be empathetic when an employee requests sick leave. They’re hoping to shift the perception that the company leadership wants their employees to get better for their health rather than to get back to work quickly.

The pandemic made all aspects of running a business harder than before, and managing attendance is no exception. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how our absence tracking mobile app can simplify absence management during the pandemic.