On the Job

What to Do When you Can’t Afford to Call-in-Sick

Spring means warmer weather – and an end to this year’s harsh flu season. This year’s season reached pandemic levels, according to The Washington Post. But sickness is still out there, and the risk of spreading germs is always a problem.

When you start to feel sick – you might be tempted to continue with your normal schedule. Let’s face it, we don’t want to call-in sick until we know we’re “really” sick. By then germs are all over the office and our co-workers are getting sick. Rather than focusing on getting better, employees worry about the piles of work on their desk.

So, what can you do when you don’t feel great, but can’t afford to call-in sick? Here are six suggestions:

1. Understand the difference between the flu and a cold. While we might use the terms interchangeably, they’re different with different symptoms. The first step in feeling better is treating the right thing. Flu symptoms need flu remedies.

2. Take care of yourself. This is often easier said than done. We have busy personal and professional lives. But when you start to feel like you might be coming down with the flu, make it a point to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.

3. Learn flu etiquette. If you work in an open office or travel as part of your job, then you know that you’re often exposed to other people. And they’re exposed to you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended guidelines on how to cough and sneeze in a way to prevent the spreading of germs.

4. Don’t spread germs. Speaking of germs, when you don’t feel well, take extra precautions to wipe down phones and keyboards after you use them. And, respectfully decline to shake hands. People will not be offended by your consideration for their well-being.

5. Offer to work from home. If you’re able to participate in a phone meeting, or answer emails from home, take advantage of the opportunity. Even if it’s for only a couple of days. It could help you recover and keep the flu from spreading around the office.

None of us like being sick. Or calling-in sick. So, when you feel those flu symptoms coming on, don’t dismiss them. Find ways to mitigate the situation so you can focus on taking care of yourself.

While it’s possible you’ll still get the flu, maybe you’ll bounce back sooner than if you ignore all the signs. It’s also possible that your office mates won’t get sick – and they will be very happy about that!

 

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