You’ve been coughing and sneezing all night, your eyes are watery, and your head is pounding- but you’re going to work. Why? You have to submit that report today, or you just can’t miss that meeting.
The truth is that the day will go on without you. Someone will take care of the immediate tasks and everything else can be done tomorrow. Very few of us are as important as we think we are and most things aren’t as urgent as they appear to be.
Now take a minute to consider why it is better for you to stay in bed when you’re sick:
You will spread your illness around. When you come into work sick, you spread your illness to your unsuspecting co-workers. If they get sick, they will know who to thank. Imagine the impact on productivity if your whole department gets sick! It also important to keep in mind that some of your co-workers may have young children, or older relatives at home who could become seriously ill as a result of your cold.
It will take you longer to get better. When you’re sick, you need to sleep. If you put your body through the stress of going to work, you deprive it of the rest that it needs to fight the infection and get better. You may find that your sickness lingers for a long time, or that it gets even worse.
You will be off your game. When you come into work sick, you are not nearly as productive as you are when you are feeling well. You may be sitting at your desk, but not accomplishing much. This is referred to as “presenteeism” and can be costly to employers.
You could make mistakes. Once you decide to go to work, people expect you to perform as well as you would on any other day. The problem is that if you’re not feeling well, your judgement may be compromised, and you could make mistakes. These mistakes could be expensive for your employer, and may get you into trouble. Even the act of traveling to and from work can be dangerous (especially if you are on medication).
It is admirable that you want to go to work even when you’re sick. Many of your co-workers would not hesitate to take an extra day off. There is no doubt that your employer appreciates your work ethic. However, it is important to remember that we are given sick days for a reason. Do yourself and everyone around you a favour and spend the day in bed with hot soup and a book.
(Written by: Karen Bivand)