Pfizer Consumer Healthcare

Pfizer Consumer Healthcare

November 30, 2006 08:00 ET

What does corporate Canada agree on? Taking sick days, apparently

Memo to employees: banish guilt; 76 per cent of bosses say if you’re sick, stay home

Attention: Arts/Entertainment Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Lifestyle Editor, News Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 30, 2006) - It's that time of year again; when the sound of sniffles, sneezing and coughing overpowers the productive whirl of typing, faxing and photocopying around the office. And to the many Canadians who continue to suffer through a seasonal cold or flu at work, their bosses have a strong message to send: stay home.

A recent poll commissioned by the makers of Benylin† reveals that the vast majority (76%) of Canadian bosses would prefer employees to stay home when sick. But gender does play a role. Eight out of ten male managers give the thumbs-up to staying home when ill, compared to only 65 per cent of female bosses.

The reality is, today's employees do find it difficult to overcome guilt and give themselves permission to miss a day of work. This might explain why nearly half (46%) took no sick days in the past 12 months. One third (35%) of the employees surveyed admitted to always or sometimes feeling guilty when calling in sick. In fact, 62 per cent of employees surveyed said they would have to feel severely ill before they would miss a day of work. And who, among Canadian men and woman, feels most guilty? Interestingly, 46 per cent of woman admitted to always or sometimes feeling guilty when they call in sick compared to just 25 per cent of men.

"At this time of year, I see many professionals in my practice who are suffering from a cold or flu but feel they must soldier through their work days," says family physician Dr. Nayana Suchak. "What is not realized is one day at home - where you can rest and avoid contaminating others - is key to breaking the seasonal sickness cycle."

Bed rest affects bottom line
Indeed, concern over germ and virus spreadability isn't the only factor motivating employers to endorse sick days. Findings from the poll suggest that a healthier, "balanced" workforce contributes directly to the bottom line. An overwhelming majority (86%) of Canadian bosses agree their employees are more productive when they take a sick day to recover from illness.

Across the country, most bosses echoed this sentiment, especially in Ontario where 94 per cent of managers agree that employees are more productive when they took a sick day. Managers in Manitoba/Saskatchewan came a close second at 89 per cent with Quebec employers filling the last slot at 72 per cent.

"The war-like mentality which dominated the business world a few decades ago is passé," says Peter Rodriguez, Senior Brand Manager of Benylin at Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, which was recently named one of Canada's healthiest workplaces by the Canadian Healthy Workplace Council.

"Managers and employees now realize that in order to achieve peak performance they need to be healthy, refreshed and engaged, otherwise efficiency and productivity suffer," adds Rodriguez. "This study reinforces that something as simple as giving yourself permission to take a sick day when you are ill has become a perfectly acceptable - and preferred - practice. So much so that this concept is now part of our marketing foundation and efforts with our new "Take A Benylin Day" campaign."

Prescription for work and life wellness
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance need not be complicated. Dr. Suchak offers the following recommendations for obtaining optimal work-health balance:

* Don't lose balance. The ideal lifestyle should involve a healthy balance of work and play. Have reasonable expectations of yourself, your colleagues and boss as well as your family.
* Know your workplace respiratory etiquette. Coughing, sneezing and constant nose-blowing is not only disruptive but also exposes your co-workers to your contagious symptoms and increases the possibility of spreading the infection. Know when you're feeling well enough to go to work or when to stay home.
* Don't suffer. If you find yourself sick, remember the three R's: rest, remedy, recover. Seventy eight per cent of employers see colds, flu or being sick and contagious as justifiable reasons for calling in sick. So allow yourself to take a day away from work and chores. Adequate rest is key, but hard to achieve with a stuffy nose or cough. Over-the-counter medications - such as Benylin All-in-One - help relieve your cold and flu symptoms. Combined, this prescription of rest and remedy is key to a speedy recovery.

Benylin is owned and marketed by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. Pfizer Inc. discovers, develops and manufactures and markets leading prescription medicines for humans and animals, and many of the world's best-known consumer products. In Canada, Pfizer employs approximately 2,300 people. Canadian headquarters of the Pfizer Consumer Group is in Markham, Ontario.

† Two independent surveys of Canadian employers and employees were commissioned by the makers of Benylin to enhance their knowledge of Canadians' sick day habits. The surveys were conducted by Decima Research in autumn 2006. These national samples of 1,000 Canadian adults 18 years or older (per survey) is accurate within +/- 3.1 percentage points.

B-roll is available on Thursday, November 30, 2006:

Time of feed: 2:30 pm - 3:00 pm EST continuous loop
Coordinates: Dome Playout @ Rogers Centre to Anik F2 C-band, Channel 6B
Trouble shoot: 416-341-2150

For more information or book an interview with Dr. Nayana Suchak:
Karen Cleveland
(416) 969-2722
IN: HEALTH, LABOUR, SOCIAL

Contact Information

  • Karen Cleveland
    Primary Phone: 416-969-2722
    Secondary Phone: 416-920-9000