A person often catches a cold when a mother-in-law comes to visit. Patients mentioned mothers-in-law so often that we came to consider them a common cause of disease in the United States.
-Thomas Holmes

From The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine:

Do you feel heroic for stumbling into work even when you're sick? According to a new study, you shouldn't-you're costing your business money, and plenty of it. Each employee who comes in to the office when he or she is sick costs the employer and average of $255 per year, according to a study by Cornell University labor researchers. This adds up to cost the American workplace $180 billion in lost productivity ever year-and that doesn't even count the very sizeable added cost of spreading your germs around and making others ill.

That's all the price tag for "presenteeism" -in other words, you're there, but you're not functioning well. Whether it's a cold, the flu, a headache, allergies, arthritis, heart disease, asthma, or something as serious as cancer, if you're in the office sick, you likely have trouble concentrating, work more slowly, often make mistakes or simply have to repeat tasks.

According to the study, the cost of presenteeism now costs employers more than absenteeism or medical or disability benefits. One major problem, however, is that employers are not yet cognizant of this drain on their company's finances, and often don't urge sick employees to stay home. However, if Ron Goetzel, the director of Cornell's Institute for Health and Productivity Studies has his way, awards for perfect attendance-and costing the boss thousands-may soon be a thing of the past.

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