Sick in the Office – A manager’s perspective

Its that time of year where colds and flues run rampant through office buildings, when you see Sniffly Sue or Coughing Carl walking down the hall towards your cubicle ready to spread their germs. Yep, its inevitable you’re going to encounter the sick person at the office during the winter and wonder: why are they here? We’ve all got our reasons for coming into the office sick, many of them legitimate, but have you considered the impact you have when you come into the office sick?

Form a managers perspective I would much rather have the sick person stay home and get better. First off when you’re sick you’re not nearly as productive as if you were better. You make more mistakes and pay more attention to your runny nose than you do to the spreadsheet you need to review. The productivity aside you also spread your germs; I’m sure whatever virus you have is happy that you’re spreading it to other hapless victim, but you’re going to hurt the company if you get more people sick. With more people sick the company’s productivity overall goes down which very simply translates to: you’re costing the company money.

I know a lot of people think they need to come into the office to get their work done, they don’t consider the fact that by staying at home for a day they can rest and get better. When you have the flu or a cold a day of rest is so much better for you than coming in, if you stay home and rest when you do make it in you’ll be much more productive and you’ll decrease your chances of infecting someone else with your cold.

If you can work from home this is by far the best option if you’re in a situation where you absolutely have to do work. In our day and age many people have the ability to work from home yet when they’re sick they don’t take this option. Working in your PJs with the ability to take a break when you need one although not resting will help you get better quicker.

Finally all of this comes with a bit of a caveat: all of this is when you’re sick, truly sick, and not just having a rough day because you drank too much the night before or if you’ve got the sniffles. Many people think that if they’ve got a little bit of a runny nose its time to stay home. If you’re not really and truly sick then you probably do belong in an office; no one likes a hypochondriac.

[tags]sickness, cold, productivity[/tags]

4 thoughts on “Sick in the Office – A manager’s perspective”

  1. I went to work sick all last week
    but that’s because if I didn’t, vendors wouldn’t get paid and payroll wouldn’t have been sent (yes, downsizing to the extent that there’s no backup). I tried to hide in my office and not see anyone.

  2. I think that employees assume that they will lose their jobs if they dont come in, even if they are on their death beds. Unfortunatley I have seen managers re-distribute work in these cases and the sick employee comes back to a reduced workload or sometimes no job at all.

    I agree though, you just make the rest of the office sick and that isnt good either. Better to take one day or two and fully recover and then come back healthy!

  3. Kimber, sometimes going to work sick is simply something you have to do. You have no choice in the matter; at least you stayed in your office.

    Maria, I have heard stories such as the one you mentioned too; unfortunately that is another situation where you might just have to go in. But making that assumption when it isn’t true is where the problem lies.

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