Think you are being brave, by soldiering on and going to work when you are sick? The answer is: No, you are not! There may be many reasons why you think you need to work when you are unwell, however, you are not doing anyone – yourself, your colleagues or the wider community – any favours by ignoring the fact that you are sick and need to stay at home. That is what sick days are for!

Here are 5 reasons why you should stay home when you are unwell or recovering from illness:

1. To avoid making everyone else at work sick
This is totally unfair, no one wants to be sick, and the chance of others catching your illness is quite high. The chance is even higher if you are within a metre of the sick person, though there is evidence that infectious flu-containing particles can travel even further, think lifts, tearoom, meetings, inside cars, etc. When you think of how closely people work alongside others, the risk of infection in the workplace is alarmingly high. Remember it only takes one person to bring the bug in.

2. To stop the spread of illness
It is not only the people you work with who may catch your illness: think about how many other people you come into contact with each day. It really is easy to see how many people you could be making sick around you – in the train/bus to and from work, getting your coffee from the shop, picking up work supplies… It is also important to remember that although you may be ‘brave’ and fit, and recover quite quickly, you may spread your infection to someone more vulnerable than you, the elderly, babies and people receiving chemotherapy. For them to get sick may end up causing them serious complications.

3. To recover properly
If you are sick, your body needs to rest so that it can fight the infection. If it doesn’t have the opportunity to rest you may get sicker. And don’t think just because you have taken medication .e.g. Codral forte, to suppress the symptoms that you are not infectious anymore or that you are getting better. Suppressing the symptoms does not aid recovery. Returning to work too soon can have serious health implications.

4. To avoid wasting time at work
If you go to work sick, you are not working to your full capacity. You are more likely to make mistakes and are more likely to perform at a substandard level.

5. To avoid making the workplace miserable – for all!
You feel miserable, you are impatient, tired and possibly in pain, this does not help you relate well to others and creates a unhappy workplace for all!


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