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Are You Too Sick To Work?

Sick-WomanIt’s that time of year again….time to get sick. Everyone in the office is coughing, people on the bus are sniffling, noses are red and germs are in the air. Its inevitable that one morning you will drag yourself out of bed and it won’t feel like you have slept at all, your head will be pounding and you can’t swallow. Do you get in the shower and face the day or do you climb right back in bed? Do you worry about what others will think if you call in sick or should you risk infecting others?

An article I recently read stated that people are concerned about calling in sick, but the truth is, if you are feeling under the weather and especially if you have a fever or viral infection, you need to stay home. Whether you want to or not, you can’t worry about what others think. Of course, you don’t want to abuse the system if you aren't really too sick to work, however, a little bit of common sense goes a long way. Nothing slows you down in the workplace like going to work sick; plus, productivity goes right out the window!

What should you take into account when deciding whether you are too sick to work?

  • How well will you be to actually work? Sniffles are one thing, but bottom line, if you are not feeling up to par, you will not perform well. You are going to have a hard time concentrating and functioning at your normal level when feeling sick.
  • Are you contagious? If you have a viral or bacterial illness, you will expose those around you to your illness. Rule of thumb is when you are sick, staying home helps to curb germs and contain the illness. Allow yourself 24 to 48 hours from the time you start taking antibiotics before assuming you are not contagious.
  • Will resting at home help you overcome your illness? Symptoms can or will worsen if you don’t take the time to stop and give your body rest. When you don’t give yourself time to rest you are actually pushing yourself to the point where you can become more sick than you would have been, had you just rested that first day and let your body fight the infection.
  • Will the medications you are taking impair your ability to think clearly or even work? Let’s remember that safety should be your number one concern. If you are taking medications that clearly have a warning on ability to operate machinery or drive, don’t. Warnings are there for a reason, especially when your body isn’t at its normal state as it is, medications can alter your body even more.
  • Consider alternatives: Does your employer allow you flexibility to work from home?

I recently had to battle with these questions and ultimately decided that even though I have a lot going on at work, I needed to trust my team members to see things through without me and stay home to focus on getting myself healthy. The importance of not being stubborn or selfish with my decisions will set the precedence for team members around me. It doesn’t matter what others “think,” we are all professionals. At the end of the day, treat others as you would like to be treated and think about if you would like it if someone came to work and coughed on you all day.

This post was written by guest blogger Christy Cahill, Operations Manager for the US Staffing & Posting CoE. Christy started her career with Yoh 8 years ago and has held several positions, her most recent as the Operations Manager for over 3 years now. She lives in upstate New York and enjoys spending time with her husband, Chris, daughter, Carly (17) and son Christopher (12).

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