Why You Should NOT Come To Work Sick
It’s cold and flu season again and I cannot stand it when someone comes into work sick with a horrible cold or worse – the flu. If you have a fever, a cough or the sniffles, go away. Do NOT come into the office, no thank you. Yes, yes. I get it. Everyone is busy. Work piles up when you’re gone. And I’m aware that in today’s workplace, a day off is a luxury. But there is nothing more selfish than to come into work when you are feeling sick. When people bring their illness into work, it spreads to your coworkers.
It happens to us all. Everyone will take his or her turn at getting sick. And when that happens your coworkers will have to pick up the slack for you, just as you will have to do for them. Support each other without complaining. If your employer doesn’t have a sick day policy then it’s time to advocate for change to start one.
I see you over there at your office desk with your box of Kleenex but don’t you know that viruses can spray a few feet following a cough or sneeze? Especially in the earliest part of illness, when you are most contagious, you need to stay at home. Did you hear me? Don’t come to work sick. If you spread it to your coworkers, they will take it home to their young children or their elderly parents. This mild cold you are experiencing will cause more severe symptoms to these groups of people.
Here’s what will happen if you go to work sick with an illness:
You’ll be less productive
I know you will complain that if you don’t go to work, you’ll get behind. It is hard to know what a day away from the office will do to your productivity. You might be more productive than if you stayed home and didn’t do any work at all, but you may not be as sharp or efficient when suffering from a cold. If you MUST work, see if you can do some work at home and keep your germs away from coworkers.
It may take longer to recover
Maybe you don’t realize that what you need right now is to rest. When you are sick, you need to take it easy and let your body fight off infection. Maybe you need to take the time to see a doctor. Whatever. Working too much in the early stages of illness may actually prolong your recovery time. When you sleep, it boosts infection-fighting cells and antibodies so you can get well faster. Do yourself a favor and stay home and rest.
Medications will interfere with your job
Once you get medicine, it’s going to mess with your head. It will be a struggle to fight sleepiness and foggy thinking. This isn’t the time to close that million-dollar sale or write your closing arguments for court. This is the time to lie on the couch, eat soup and take naps. Stay home.
You’ll pass along your illness to others
Even if you attempt to hide in your office cubicle, you are still going to get other people sick. Germs can spread when you touch an elevator button, the door handle to the bathroom or even a sneeze traveling through the air. Some viruses can live on the skin and other surfaces for a few hours infecting everyone in their wake.
It’s even worse for employees that work in an open office environment where there are more people in the same space. It’s hard to not to catch the cold of the person who is sitting right next to you.
So, please don’t be selfish. You may think that the work can’t wait and that your employer and coworkers need you. That may be true but there is nothing you can do about it. If you are not feeling well – stay home. I repeat, do not come to work sick. If you don’t have that luxury in your current position to stay at home, demand a more supportive work environment.