Sick Workplace Habits

Jan 14, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Going to work when you’re sick is — well — sick, say experts.

While employers frown on workers who take sick days, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that there would be fewer workers calling in sick if more people were unwilling to
tough it out and bring their germs with them to the office.

In the Cubicle Culture column in the Wall Street Journal, Jared Sandberg writes, “It can be hard to tell which ailment is worse: the virulent strain of influenza
that still is laying people low or America’s short-sighted work ethic, which does a number on people’s heads. We often mistake absenteeism for sloth and presenteeism for productivity,
forgetting that we all know officemates who don’t do much work even when they show up. As a result, countless employees soldier on at work with their sniffles and tickly throats,
hallucinating that they are indispensable or that their bosses will shower them with appreciation.”

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on the subject of the approach of business to employee sick days?

A few years ago we toughed it out, working night and day to complete a big project for our employer. The result was a case of systemic strep and a very
near death experience.

In the process, we gained the admiration of some in the company who saw us almost working ourselves to death. Somehow earning the admiration of others hasn’t
seemed like such big a deal ever since.
Anderson – Moderator

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