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How to Work When You Are Sick

How to Work When You're Sick

We all get sick from time to time and depending on your job, you might have to work or face other consequences, especially if it’s just a cold. As a lifelong sufferer of allergies, I occasionally get a flare up that I have to work through because I can’t afford to take the day off. Here are some tips for how to work when you are sick.

1. Stay home if you are contagious

This can’t be stressed enough. If you can spread whatever you’ve got to your coworkers, stay home. If you have strep throat, the flu or anything else that is contagious, stay home until you are safe to be around others.

2. Take care of your body

One of the most important things you can do is to get plenty of rest, and eat and drink appropriately. You generally need a lot of water. Classics like chicken soup will go a long way to making you feel better. Don’t overdo it – you don’t want to risk getting sicker.

3. Take a half day

Depending on your responsibilities, taking a half day will allow you to get some work done, get partially paid and then give you plenty of time to recuperate.

4. Work from home

If you can work from home, take the opportunity, especially if you are contagious. Use the time to catch up on solo projects or organize your files. It might be easier if you have a remote connection to your work computer setup. You can use LogMeIn or TeamViewer, two popular free applications.

5. Respect your coworkers

Make sure to tell your coworkers you aren’t feeling well, especially if you’re visibly sick. Reassure them you aren’t contagious so they don’t feel like you are intruding on their uncontaminated workplace.

If you are coughing and sneezing, be considerate of your coworkers and keep to yourself as much as possible.

6. Reschedule

If you were set to make a conference call or run a meeting, reschedule. When you’re sick, you’re performing at 100 percent, even if you feel like you are. It will be best for everyone involved to reschedule any meetings or phone calls for when you are on your game.

7. Do the easy stuff

Every job comes with a few mindless tasks that don’t require full use of your skills. During a regular workweek, I tend to pile up papers and leave miscellaneous files unorganized. Every few weeks I (should, but don’t always) go through my unorganized things and put everything where it belongs. I also use this time to make sure my backups are working and all software is up to date.

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