More than a quarter of workers would still go into the workplace if they had either a high temperature or a cough – two of the main symptoms of Covid-19.
The research involving 2,001 workers, commissioned by insurer Direct Line Group, found that 27% would continue commuting to work even with these symptoms, and 10% would still visit their workplace if they felt unwell more generally.
Asked about the major symptoms they felt they would still be able to travel into work with, 80% said they would still visit the office with a cough, 66% a sore throat, 48% a cough, 47% sickness or diarrhoea, and 35% a high temperature. Many of these symptoms could be possible signs of Covid-19 infection.
The results of the survey were released just as research into the effectiveness of mask-wearing, handwashing and social distancing on reducing the spread of Covid-19 was published.
The University of Edinburgh and Monash University study, published in the BMJ, looked at non-pharmaceutical interventions to tackling coronavirus infections and found that mask-wearing reduces Covid-19 cases by 53%.
Handwashing also reduced infections by 53%, but physical distancing was found to be slightly less effective and cut infections by 25%.
The researchers said: “This systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that several personal protective and social measures, including handwashing, mask wearing, and physical distancing are associated with reductions in the incidence [of] Covid-19.
“Public health efforts to implement public health measures should consider community health and sociocultural needs, and future research is needed to better understand the effectiveness of public health measures in the context of Covid-19 vaccination.”
Commenting on the results of the Direct Line survey, Vincent Guadagnino, communications manager at Direct Line Life Insurance, said: “Over the past few months we’ve seen lots of people across the country return to their place of work in one form or another. Even though there has been more of a focus on cleanliness and disease prevention over the past 18 months, it looks like many people are still willing to travel to the workplace unwell, even if they have one or more Covid-19 symptoms.”