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Going to work/school while sick

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This is actually something I rarely hear discussed, and as such I thought it might be worthy of a topic.

 

I'm sure most of you know someone whom, despite being sick, will force themselves to get up and go to work (or school) sick. For the purposes of this post, I'm going to focus more on work. Though they could apply to school as well.

 

Should you attempt to tough it out and work while sick? Or should you take the time off to recover?

 

 

 

I'm going to say there are three main reasons people generally force themselves to work while sick:

1. Financial. Basically, they cannot afford to take an unpaid sick day.

2. The possibility of unemployment. Fear that if downsizing/layoffs should occur at some point, taking time off will place your job in jeopardy.

3. The social stigma surrounding it, being seen as weak.

 

 

 

However, attending work while sick also can be bad for the business for the following reasons:

1. While your employee may show up, they are working at reduced capacity. Which can reduce their quality of work, or make things take longer than they should ordinarily.

2. The risk of spreading germs to fellow employees, which is harmful to the companies bottom line.

3. Sick employees are less likely to be careful, which could result in injury on the job.

 

 

So what are your thoughts on the matter?

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If you can afford to take a sick day, you should.

 

I can only really speak for school though. Some schools make it so hard to take a sick day at all. My high school was really intense (harder than both unis I attended) and missing school for even one day set you sooooo far behind. Especially in subjects like math. You'd end up having to put in double the effort just to catch up. At the end of the day, it just always seemed like less effort to tough it out while sick than trying to catch up on loads of work later.


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I'd consult with the employer. If the illness is paralyzing, e.g. influenza, then there's no good reason to work at that state. If the illness is a common cold, I'd seek advice.

 

I usually turn up to school whilst sick. I'll just work at a reduced rate, as you've highlighted in your OP.

 

Oh, and the schadenfreude in me doesn't mind other people catching an illness because of me - especially if the school has stringent policies on attendance. It may be deemed as bothering by the book, though.

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Since I never had a job, I couldn't say anything for work. When it came to school, I only took a sick day if I could or if it was necessary because I shouldn't have gone to begin with. To be honest, the social reasons for not taking a sick day are silly because it makes you more miserable and can even make you detrimental by spreading the illness itself.

 

Tough it out if it's minor, take a day off if it is that annoying or bad. Sums it up nicely.

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I don't think I've ever worked for a company that held taking sick days against me, but I do know that if you're taking an excessive amount of them it can reflect badly on you. I've seen more than one person let go because of excessive "sick" days.

 

I think the problem is that the majority of us do not get paid sick/vacation days, so if we take a day off it is, as you said, an unpaid day which not all of us can afford. It's very easy to say someone should go home when they're sick, but I know for me that means the difference between proper groceries and eating Mr. Noodle and peanut butter (and not always with bread) for a week.

 

Now, I'm not the type of guy to stay home or go running off to the hospital because I have the sniffles, but I do know when I'm too sick to work (ie: running a fever and/or vomiting is an automatic day in bed).


 

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This post isn't based on a personal experience, mine or otherwise. Rather, the idea for this post comes from reading a few pieces on the internet related to the subject:

 

http://jobsearchtech.about.com/od/workplaceissues/a/Presenteeism.htm

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92762761

http://lifeinc.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/01/24/5894196-survey-most-people-go-to-work-when-sick

 

I'm sure there are many more, but they just got me to thinking and I decided to post this.

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To be honest, the social reasons for not taking a sick day are silly because it makes you more miserable and can even make you detrimental by spreading the illness itself.

 

What if you derive happiness/pleasure from other people's misfortunes of catching the illness from yourself?

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Always do it unless you're carrying something contagious or it's ACTUALLY going to negatively effect your work to an extent coming in is worthless. (hint: A cold does not.)

 

I never used to go to school when i felt ill, or even when i just couldn't be bothered, and i really regret it today, as all i achieved on those days is a few hours of watching crappy TV while feeling sorry for myself, missing out on important lessons and social time with friends. (I wasn't off very often, but i regret the times i was.)

 

As for the performance issues, unless you're seriously incapable of working and reaching the (almost always easy) minimum work expected from you, your boss will respect you way more for toughing it out and getting the work done, especially if it's a busy place or a Monday morning. Hell, even if you go slightly under the minimum, from my experience, your boss will usually sympathize and never in a million years fire you for it. (Unless you're generally a bad employee and he's looking for any legal reason to fire you. Then this should be the last of your worries.)

If you're sure you'll be doing less than minimum but otherwise be fine coming in, you should chat with your boss or manager at the start of the day and see what he has to say. The worst that can happen is he'll appreciate your enthusiasm and concern and tell you to take the day off (Possibly paid), which you were going to do anyway.

 

Slightly poor work with a good excuse trumps no work with a poor excuse any day.

 

Finally; money is awesome. I can technically afford to take a few days off, but why would i want to throw away easy money? Hell, I'll see if theres any overtime they want me to do.

 

 

These are just my experiences from school/college/a relaxed friendly office. If you work in the coal mines or something, it's obviously going to be different.


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I usually get hit pretty bad with sickness compared to other people, I cant even function properly with a regular cold so I wouldn't go to school/work. This topic is ironic since I came down with the flu just this monday and I've felt like death for the past 4.5 days, constant high fever that hasn't broken after all this time, terrible sore throat ugh :( /rantover.


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School I would rarely take time off even if I was sick. Work for me is a different story, I'm much more open to staying home to recover then going into work, I also find it more excepted to skip work then it was to skip school when your sick. Skipping school, you're much more prone to falling behind where as at work it's as simple as picking up where you left off when you get back.


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Since I work in care, and therefore I could potentially be dealing with weak immune systems, I am supposed be 48 hours clear from any symptoms of a contagious illness, 72 if those symptoms include DNV. In reality, if it's minor and I keep it under control, I'll work and take extra care about wearing gloves and washing hands (I keep handwash clipped on to me anyway). The biggest factor for me, and lots of other workers in the industry since the pay is so low, is that if I take a day off work, I don't get sick pay, so that's a full day's wage I'm not going to receive. I'm also on a zero-hours contract meaning if I pull out of work at the last minute because of illness, my employers are less likely to give me work. Our managers also have to assess whether we're fit to work everytime we take days off due to illness, which can be a hassle, although not for me personally because I'm not a permanent member of staff.

 

The attitude I take is that I should be washing my hands thoroughly even when I'm not ill. So long as I'm not sneezing or vomiting everywhere, it isn't so much of an issue to go into work with a cold, even if the guidelines are totally opposed to that. The clients I work with are more likely to catch illnesses off each other than they are from me, if I'm being cautious enough.

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If you're sure you'll be doing less than minimum but otherwise be fine coming in, you should chat with your boss or manager at the start of the day and see what he has to say. The worst that can happen is he'll appreciate your enthusiasm and concern and tell you to take the day off (Possibly paid), which you were going to do anyway.

This reminded me of a time when my step-mother was really sick but kept going into work because they were close to finishing a big project. Her supervisor actually met her in the lobby of the building with a taxi chit and watched her get in the cab to make sure she went home.


 

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I ready an interesting study a while ago, looking at the fact men get 'man flu' and have a day or two off while women go to work and carry on with life it used male only, female only and mixed study groups, mostly in office jobs over winters.

The thing that interested me most was the conclusions:

In terms of the companies success, man hours etc. etc. the men who took the day or two off were more beneficial as they recovered and resumed work at a full capacity only loosing 7-14 hours of man labour (assuming the typical 9-5 with an hour lunch)

Where as the women would firstly remain ill for twice as long on average working at a lower capacity so they effectively still lost 7-14+ hours of man labour, which is the first issue.

The second issue was that by attending work the women actually infected more workers resulting in a greater net lose.

 

Eg the men only office 1 or 2 men would get sick, have time off and return. End of illness.

the women only office 1 or 2 women got sick remained at work resulting in their close co-workers getting sick and passing it around 80% of the staff in the office.

 

Personally I am always of the opinion take the time off if you can; it may be a mild cold but a day in bed can cure it while a day out and about may make it much worse and it lasts several days.


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I refuse to miss a school day this year despite how sick I am/am not. Its more of a personal thing this year where sickness always got the better of me and was ill a lot of the time. I want to win one year where I can conquer my body and remain healthy - and say I didn't miss a day for once.

 

I just take it extremely slow if I am in a dying mood, it pays off in the long-run where you can understand more of all the content in school; since you were there.

 

If it was work, I'd be more of the same - unless I was seriously ill I would go in. Its more of knowing yourself the boundary of how contagious you are and how fit you are if you are any assistance/burden to the business.

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I have been working whilst I should've been on sick leave(disability) for the past 5 years.

I finally gave in and had a operation last monday to help with life.

For me the reason I never went sick was down to money- Untill recently it was a one person wage household so I had no option but to work. I am now off for 3 months to recover. I will work through sickness simply because unless it is life threatening/contagous I had no option but to work


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Sick or not, I work, and I do my best to be working at the same capacity as I usually do. I need this because I can't afford to lose hours of pay. Heck I even once worked an 11 hours day with a high fever (everyone that was supposed to work that night called in sick). That was about 4 years ago. I'm not the type to whine when sick, and I only recently went to the hospital for something else, and they had to make a new hospital card for me seeing as the system changed 6 years ago.

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I take time off school if I'm sick. I took two days off this week (Tuesday and Wednesday) because of my cold. It's not that hard to catch up.


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It depends how I feel. Most of the time I'll work through it but if it's quite bad I'll take the day off.


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I ready an interesting study a while ago, looking at the fact men get 'man flu' and have a day or two off while women go to work and carry on with life it used male only, female only and mixed study groups, mostly in office jobs over winters.

The thing that interested me most was the conclusions:

In terms of the companies success, man hours etc. etc. the men who took the day or two off were more beneficial as they recovered and resumed work at a full capacity only loosing 7-14 hours of man labour (assuming the typical 9-5 with an hour lunch)

Where as the women would firstly remain ill for twice as long on average working at a lower capacity so they effectively still lost 7-14+ hours of man labour, which is the first issue.

The second issue was that by attending work the women actually infected more workers resulting in a greater net lose.

 

Eg the men only office 1 or 2 men would get sick, have time off and return. End of illness.

the women only office 1 or 2 women got sick remained at work resulting in their close co-workers getting sick and passing it around 80% of the staff in the office.

 

Personally I am always of the opinion take the time off if you can; it may be a mild cold but a day in bed can cure it while a day out and about may make it much worse and it lasts several days.

 

I'm the opposite. If i stay in bed all day I'll get better by the end of the day. If i go out and work, I'll realize I'm fine by afternoon and be even more confident that it was wise to get out.

 

A lot of it is psychological. Once you get out there, you realize you're fine. (Or you're too busy to stop and feel ill) But if you laze around, you'll just keep thinking about your illness and not even consider the possibility you would have been better off going to work.

 

I'm young and healthy, and really do enjoy work though, so it makes sense I'd prefer to slug it out at work.


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Is it worth attending school to realise that you're actually too ill to be there, therefore you sign out?

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If I get sick on a work day I usually try and tough it out, I haven't called in sick in 2 years, but I've gone in feeling pretty bad. Had to leave a couple of times during a shift to throw up, but I finished the 9 hours, I felt better for doing it as well.

 

During my final years at school I only took time off if I was really sick, probably only 5 days or so in my last 2 years, before that I took more time off as Galandular fever which sucked.


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Heres my thoughts

 

I am a supervisor at a food stand in an amusement park in the summer (Yay Uni job).

1. If you are too sick to work efficevly (like 80%+ of your potential, don't come, call off)

2. Same if you are going to whine and moan all day

3. If you come in sick and do you job and don't complain much, while not infecting everything you touch I will give you a bit more leeway in the future if you need to leave early, ect


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I ready an interesting study a while ago, looking at the fact men get 'man flu' and have a day or two off while women go to work and carry on with life it used male only, female only and mixed study groups, mostly in office jobs over winters.

The thing that interested me most was the conclusions:

In terms of the companies success, man hours etc. etc. the men who took the day or two off were more beneficial as they recovered and resumed work at a full capacity only loosing 7-14 hours of man labour (assuming the typical 9-5 with an hour lunch)

Where as the women would firstly remain ill for twice as long on average working at a lower capacity so they effectively still lost 7-14+ hours of man labour, which is the first issue.

The second issue was that by attending work the women actually infected more workers resulting in a greater net lose.

 

Eg the men only office 1 or 2 men would get sick, have time off and return. End of illness.

the women only office 1 or 2 women got sick remained at work resulting in their close co-workers getting sick and passing it around 80% of the staff in the office.

 

Personally I am always of the opinion take the time off if you can; it may be a mild cold but a day in bed can cure it while a day out and about may make it much worse and it lasts several days.

 

I'm the opposite. If i stay in bed all day I'll get better by the end of the day. If i go out and work, I'll realize I'm fine by afternoon and be even more confident that it was wise to get out.

 

A lot of it is psychological. Once you get out there, you realize you're fine. (Or you're too busy to stop and feel ill) But if you laze around, you'll just keep thinking about your illness and not even consider the possibility you would have been better off going to work.

 

I'm young and healthy, and really do enjoy work though, so it makes sense I'd prefer to slug it out at work.

 

Certainly psychologically you feel better when you are doing stuff, but I still find if I force myself with mild illness to go off to uni or work or w/e I may feel better sooner that day, but the following days I'll feel much much worse and take longer to recover. Sleeping/resting for the first day helps more because during a resting state the immune system works better (as effort can be diverted to making white blood cells opposed to movement, thought etc.) plus the remaining indoors means you avoid the veritable barrage of germs and bugs about in the air in public spaces, sure most won;t make you ill but it still diverts the immune system to mopping them up to ensure they dont make u ill.


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Heres my thoughts

 

I am a supervisor at a food stand in an amusement park in the summer (Yay Uni job).

1. If you are too sick to work efficevly (like 80%+ of your potential, don't come, call off)

2. Same if you are going to whine and moan all day

3. If you come in sick and do you job and don't complain much, while not infecting everything you touch I will give you a bit more leeway in the future if you need to leave early, ect

 

This is the key part that I've discovered over the years.

 

If your employers see you trying your hardest to work when you're slightly ill they're automatically going to assume that when you're off you have a very valid reason. But if you're always in prime condition and take a lot of time off, they'll assume you're just being a wimp. (Especially if you constantly complain about it)


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Heres my thoughts

 

I am a supervisor at a food stand in an amusement park in the summer (Yay Uni job).

1. If you are too sick to work efficevly (like 80%+ of your potential, don't come, call off)

2. Same if you are going to whine and moan all day

3. If you come in sick and do you job and don't complain much, while not infecting everything you touch I will give you a bit more leeway in the future if you need to leave early, ect

 

This is the key part that I've discovered over the years.

 

If your employers see you trying your hardest to work when you're slightly ill they're automatically going to assume that when you're off you have a very valid reason. But if you're always in prime condition and take a lot of time off, they'll assume you're just being a wimp. (Especially if you constantly complain about it)

I have to agree. I haven't taken a day off in 5 years and my supervisor has seen me struggle through some shifts (due to fatigue, not actual illness). He was good to me for 3 years... and now I have a new supervisor who didn't see the struggles and doesn't help me out at all.

 

As I have never needed to take a sick day from work, I don't know much about it, but I took a day off school as often as I could get away with.

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