Going to Work Sick - Should You?


You've come down with the flu or a cold.  What should you do - stay home or go to work?  The answer should be simple, but it's not always.  Do you choose absenteeism or presenteeism - attending work while sick?

The logical answer is to be considerate and take a few days off to avoid infecting others at work.  A Queen's University study found that it cost employers twice as much in productivity losses for employees who come to work while sick compared to those who stay home.  Due to technology many people can work from home.  If you can, do so.

Unfortunately, it's not always that simple.  Sick days are not offered by all companies, and some employees can't afford to stay home and lose the income.  Others feel pressured to come to work due to job insecurity or no one to cover for them at work.  For some people it's not an easy call to make.

Here's some tips on what to do if you absolutely have to go to work when ill.

  • Isolate yourself.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Use alcohol based hand wipes.
  • Avoid shaking hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue.
  • Use a clean tissue to touch door handles and elevator buttons.