Too sick to tidy up! Most young workers use minor illnesses to avoid ‘adulting’

NEW YORK — Do you use a case of the sniffles to get out of your responsibilities? You’re not alone. Nearly two-thirds of millennials refuse to do household chores when they’re sick.

A recent survey of 1,000 millennial and 1,000 Gen Z office employees revealed that 54 percent of respondents use their illness as an excuse to avoid “adulting.” That includes doing laundry (59%), buying groceries (59%), and cleaning their room or apartment (58%), which they deflect to their unlucky parents, partners, or roommates.

Sick days by the numbers

sick days

Although they’re eschewing their to-do list, two-thirds think working from home rather than the office makes sick days more difficult to justify. Moreover, Gen Zers are less likely to take a sick day (64%) than millennials (74%), not just in the present but in their pasts, too. Four in 10 members of Gen Z say they were “rarely absent” in school, compared to 26 percent of millennials.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Puffs, the survey also found the average Gen Zer stifles about six sneezes while sick – but continues working!

Nearly three-fifths of all respondents feel an obligation to work while under the weather for fear of falling behind. Another three in 10 won’t take time off unless someone else on their team does, too. At the same time, 67 percent feel they’re being judged if their red nose and sniffles are evident. Both are telltale signs of illness one in four people dread the most, with congestion (24%) following closely behind.

Adding to their sick day concerns, more than three-fourths of the poll feel anxious when they don’t have a tissue on hand to wipe away their snot after sneezing.

sick days

“My team would be the first people to tell you that I am a serial nose blower. You’ll always see a box of Puffs somewhere on screen when my camera is on (which is rare),” says Corporate Natalie, a viral TikTok content creator, in a statement.

Sick day necessities

To help with their recovery, most Gen Zers turn to tea (33%), while millennials pick coffee as their go-to sick day beverage (27%). When they do take sick days, 59 percent see them as a chance to be a kid again, with 68 percent of these respondents rewatching children’s TV shows and movies during their recovery.

Respondents’ go-to kid programs included “Scooby-Doo,” “Full House,” “Clifford,” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

Other sick day necessities that are must-haves at all times include a box of tissues (71%), a warm blanket (69%), warm socks (59%) hand sanitizer  (53%), flannel pajamas (42%), a humidifier (42%), and a Neti pot to clear out that annoyingly stuffed nose (30%).

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