Don’t Cough on Me!!

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:

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Don’t Cough on Me!!

  1. Well said Mike. But i guess with such intense competition these days and also fear of loosing job in such critical times where economy of most of the countries are headed south, it makes people do these things. It kind of forces people to take this risk of not only worsening their health condition but also affecting co-workers.

  2. It is unfortunate that some people do fear losing their jobs if they lose time from work. Others don’t have enough paid sick time and can’t afford to lose the pay. Then, there are the parents that can’t afford to take time of from work to care for their sick child and they end up sending them to school or daycare. I’ve been fortunate to always been able to stay home if I’m ill or if one of my children were ill. Employers should recognize that this problem can affect everyone.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s