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November 22, 2011 / mike54martin

Ah Choo!!

One of the many things we learned from the flu frenzy, in addition to washing our hands and sneezing into our elbows, is that if you think you have the flu then stay home to reduce the risk of infecting your whole office.

We’ve all seen co-workers struggle their way into work carrying a large bottle of orange juice and an even larger box of Kleenex. They wheeze and cough their way through the day moaning and groaning as if they are going to die. In a few days they will be better but as for the rest of the office, half of them are now home in bed with whatever version of flu or cold germ that was first introduced to the office.

If you are one of these people who goes to work sick then you are not alone. According to  recent on-line poll 61 percent admitted going to work while they are sick. 26 percent of those polled said that they were going to work sick because they were afraid they would lose their jobs. I guess that might be a valid consideration. But 35 percent said that they went to work because they had to meet deadlines or keep up to speed on important projects.

To me that’s incredible. Not only are sick employees risking the health of their co-workers they are putting their work ahead of their basic needs. When you are sick you body needs time, space and rest to heal. If you do not provide that then you run an even greater risk of being sick longer or developing complications like pneumonia, bronchitis or infection. I’m no doctor but I’m pretty sure that sweating and sneezing at your desk is not a prescription for good health.

So the next time when your temperature is 102 degrees and you’ve spent all night hacking and wheezing do us all a favour. Just stay in bed and call the office to tell them that you won’t be in today. It may be hard to imagine but life will go on without you and most importantly all of us will be very grateful.

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and consultant specializing in workplace wellness and conflict resolution. He is the author of “Change the Things You Can” (Dealing with Difficult People). For more information about Mike please visit:

One Comment

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  1. Tegan / Nov 26 2011 5:31 am

    It sounds so simple and easy to just call in sick, but unfortunately many employers make employees feel guilty for using sick leave. When you know that, if you call in sick, the whole team will, it makes it very hard to do… Even if you infect everyone in the process.

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