Millions of adults have admitted they would still go to work if they felt unwell post lockdown – despite official advice telling them to stay away following the pandemic.
A study of 2,000 workers found one in 14 would still go in regardless of how ill they felt and the symptoms they were suffering.
And a third would want to carry on working with cold and flu symptoms simply because they would miss the banter, gossip and colleagues too much.
More than a third admitted they don’t usually consider other people in their workplace when they are unwell, while almost half feel pressure from their boss to go in regardless.
The study, by Thermalcheck, who has developed a no-contact temperature measuring station, also found that before the coronavirus pandemic, 80 per cent would have gone into work with a cold or flu.
Almost four in 10 would have carried on with a bad cough, 33 per cent with a tight chest and 52 per cent with a stomach ache.
Guilt over dumping tasks on a colleague was the most common reason for continuing to work while unwell, along with feeling like they had too much to do and wanting to be seen as a hard worker.
A spokesman from Thermalcheck said: “Despite the pandemic and the advice to avoid others if you feel unwell, there are still a large number of workers who will feel they need to go into the workplace.
“And there are a variety of reasons for this, whether this is because they will miss their colleagues, have too much work to do, or feel pressure from their boss to go in.
“But in light of the pandemic, this approach to working while unwell needs to change and employers need to ensure the safety of their workforce, as people become more aware about passing on their germs and social distancing measures.”
The study also found 73 per cent of workers would gain assurance from colleagues’ temperatures being tested before coming into the building – avoiding anyone with a fever coming in close proximity.
Plentiful hand sanitiser, social distancing measures and toilets being cleaned frequently were some of the other precautions staff want to see upon their return.
Further reassurance would be gained by 56 per cent by employers ensuring colleagues behave and follow guidance – with 61 per cent hoping their workplace will be kept cleaner than before.
The research also revealed half of respondents have lied to themselves in the past about how unwell they are before heading to work.
As a result, 39 per cent suspect they have passed on their illness to a colleague.
But 63 per cent said there are levels of illness they think are OK to go to work with, with 61 per cent believing that having the sniffles is not a good enough reason to call in sick.
And 59 per cent argue that having a cough doesn’t mean that they can’t work, with almost one in five worried that they wouldn’t get paid if they called in sick.
However, 57 per cent are afraid colleagues could end up taking advantage of the recent uncertainty by pulling the occasional sick day.
One in six even worry their employer will not do enough to ensure everyone’s safety – with a quarter unsure how seriously their workplace will take precautions.
Almost four in 10 are worried about how quickly employers will relax their stance on coronavirus – with 28 per cent believing colleagues will have stopped taking precautions, such as washing hands regularly or staying home when ill, within a fortnight of their return.
More than a third are unsure social distancing will be adhered to, with a quarter worrying about taking public transport to get there.
A spokesman from Thermalcheck added: “What is clear is there is an expectation from employees to feel comfortable to return to work with the right precautions in place, and they want to feel their company takes things seriously.
“Given some high numbers of people who feel the need to go to work when showing symptoms of illness, it’s really no surprise people want to feel safe from others.
“Our mission is to provide a simple and effective device to employers and employees-alike that alleviate those worries so everyone can get on with the day job.”