Ever wake up and just feel too miserable to do anything, but then force yourself to carry on as usual? Many employees do this consistently, either because they don’t have any sick days left, there is an important meeting they can’t miss, or they just don’t want to let their work team down. But, at what point do the benefits of staying home outweigh the benefits of toughing it out at work? Here are some questions to consider when weighing your choices:
What are your symptoms? Understand what is ailing you before you make a decision. Around flu season, many people mistake the flu for a common cold. If these individuals took the time to access their symptoms, which usually include fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, body aches and headaches, they would know that they are dealing with more than the average cold. Paying attention to your symptoms can be a big clue as to what you have, and whether or not you should go to work.
Are you a danger to others? Could your illness impair your performance to a point where it would jeopardize the safety of others? For instance, if you have an earache and drive a bus full of children to school every day, will your ailment prevent you from driving safely? Or if you work in a hospital with sick individuals, will your illness compromise the patients’ overall health?
Are you contagious? This is the big question. If you are contagious, you could be doing more harm in the office, than all of the work you perform. Even if you have a big meeting or deadline to make, staying home when you are contagious can prevent the company from dealing with an entire staff that is sick. Your co-workers want to see your hard work, but they don’t want to share your illness.
Will you be productive? Even if you are not contagious, there are times when your illness can prevent you from your work. If your productivity is so affected, you might be more in the way than helpful at the office. Besides, no one wants to be seen as the lazy employee, and if you go to work while sick, you might unintentionally be giving off that vibe.