Should You Work From Home While Sick?
For many people, working from home while they are sick is a convenient option, as long as their employer allows it. Working from home may not be the best choice for someone under the weather, but that depends on how sick you are and whether you can get anything done at home.
For example, if you have a cold and you don’t want anyone at work to get it, you should probably stay home. During the flu season, that becomes much more important. Avoiding work while fighting influenza can keep the whole office healthy.
But, what if you have some other illness?
Many will wake up with a sore throat, jump in the shower, take a throat lozenge, and head for work. This may not be the best way to go, since a sore throat is often an early sign of a cold, and as we all know, colds are very contagious.
A study from the Canada Life Group Insurance Company looked further into this occurrence. They found that nearly 90% of employees have come into work while sick.
Bosses will always worry about the employees who call in sick despite being healthy. But, a larger number of bosses are more worried about people showing up to work who are sick and contagious.
With the “always at work” mentality, people who work from home still stay in touch with their projects and fellow workers. This might be a counter-productive situation when you’re sick and need to work at home with some peace and quiet.
It’s no secret that many offices encourage the “always on” mentality. This means employees will find it difficult to ask for time off when they are sick, and are often encouraged to work from home instead.
If you are one of those who grapples with the idea of whether you should take time off when you are sick, it’s important to come up with a contingency plan to help you decide. You should stop and think about the long-term effects of your decision.
If you decide to go to work while you are sick, you should at least think of a place at work where you can isolate yourself from others. Although, if you decide to work from home, think about what you might be missing by staying away from work.
With the cold season ahead, workers are coming down with fevers, headaches, and runny noses. The CDC reported that your chances of getting sick this year fall between 5% and 20%, which is relatively high.
And after falling ill, employees are left with that debate: stay home or go to the office. The problem with staying home is that it might cause more stress due to the amount of work you lose. When you return to work, you could be faced with a pile of paperwork and past due projects.
But, why do people go to work when they are sick?
If you are one of the lucky people who has plenty of sick time saved up, you don’t have to worry about calling in sick without jeopardizing your job.
But, this often isn’t the case.
A 2014 survey by the National Survey Foundation (NSF) concluded that 4 out of 10 Americans say they come to work sick simply because they don’t have much choice. Approximately 10% of those surveyed said they go to work sick.
As a rule, it’s always best to stay home when you are sick. So, the next time you wake up with a headache, runny nose, and a cough, stay home.
Are you looking to keep your office healthy this flu season? Passport Health can help! Give us a call at or fill out a contact form for more information.
Written for Passport Health by Jerry Olsen. He has over 15 years of combined experience as a writer and editor in Salt Lake City. Jerry’s writing topics range from health care, travel, life science to medical technology and technical writing.