If you don’t feel well, call in sick. It’s a simple mantra, one that makes a lot of sense. But in reality, it’s not always an option. Sometimes a project requires your attendance. Other times you might want to avoid calling in sick because you know you’ll be out (cough, cough) next week for that “vacation” day you forgot to request.
Coughing and sneezing around the office is met with disdain. I’ve seen people go as far as telling a coworker to go home – and absolutely meaning it. As if you didn’t already feel crappy enough at work (you would stay home if you felt you could!), now you have to try to mask your flu-like symptoms to avoid being lynched.
It’s a selfish act to show up to the office sick with a contagious illness, but it’s reality. After all, it’s you that will have to deal with a pissed off boss, missed deadline, and worse yet – termination. You might like your coworkers and hate the fact that you could be getting them sick, but the fact is, if you were punished by upper management for calling in for being under the weather (this happens ALL the time), it will be your problem, not theirs.
If you have to show up to work ill, here are a few tips so that your coworkers don’t force you out of the office.
*Tell them why: If your coworkers have a little insight into why you were compelled to show up to work sick, they might be a bit more forgiving. Of course, they’ll probably just be worried that they might get sick. If you can put coworkers at ease that your illness is not contageous, they’ll be more understanding of your predicament.
*Tell them what’s wrong: Sometimes it’s the not knowing that freaks people out. Perhaps you are suffering from allergies or a condition you are pre-disposed to. Share a few details (without getting graphic or personal) and let them know that you would call in sick if you had a communicable condition.
*Speak to your boss: Explain to your boss that you felt you had no other choice but to show your face and not call in sick. Ask if working from home is an option (this time or next time) and explain that you feel horrible to potentially expose him/her and your colleagues to your germs.
*Cough up sanitizer: If your employer doesn’t make hand sanitizer available in public areas, take it upon yourself to deposit a bottle in a public area.
*Wear a mask. Prevalent in Asian cultures, you’ll often see a smattering of people wearing surgical masks during flu season in America. In reality, it should be you, the sick worker, wearing a mask. Although a frightening sight, a mask can help stop the spread of germs.
In a perfect world workers would be able to call in sick without any ramifications. Of course, they would really be sick too. We hope you don’t have to show up to work sick, but if you do, we understand that sometimes it’s simply unavoidable…whatever you do, don’t text in sick!