There's a certain calculus to taking sick days at work. How deathly ill are you? How would being at the office or working from home compound that? And then there's that third question: How much do you want to give back to an office that doesn't appreciate you?
Researchers at the University of East Anglia and Stockholm University have found that employees who feel they aren't being treated fairly are "at increased risk" of taking more frequent sick days, and for longer. It's part of a human resources field called organizational justice, which examines the feedback loops between workers and employers. Key elements of the study of employee-manager relations include "receiving truthful and candid information with adequate justifications" and "respectful and dignified treatment by the manager," according to a press release.
"Our results underline the need for fair and just treatment of employees irrespective of perceived job insecurity in order to keep the workforce healthy and to minimize lost work days due to sickness absence," coauthor Constanze Eib said in a press release. The study did not specify whether employees taking sick days consciously made the decision to factor in their workplace treatment. However, given the effect on morale an often-absent employee can create, it's worth watching out for patterns, and whether that signals the need to make a change, either as a worker or a manager.