Staffing Resources


ACHOO… Keep the Sniffles Out of the Office this Winter

January 10th, 2020

Like most people, you’ve likely faced this morning dilemma: you wake up not feeling well, but you don’t know if you should call off work. You’re achy all over, with a constant flow of sneezes and coughs, but you don’t necessarily feel terrible, and there’s work to be done at the office. You’re the manager, after all, are you allowed to get sick?  

Even though there’s a constant drive to work, the Center for Disease Control makes it pretty clear that you should stay home when you’re sick. More than just reading that, you need to make it an accepted policy in your workplace, so employees don’t feel obligated to power through their illness.  


Why should your employees (and you!) stay at home?

When you’re sick, one of the best remedies is rest. Medicine can help, but ultimately, your body needs time to fight off whatever is happening without you running around trying to get things done. This means if you don’t listen to your body asking for rest, you’re just prolonging what’s happening and extending the illness. Plus, depending on what is causing the sickness, germs, and viruses love to run wild in an office environment.  


What will happen if they (and you) don’t stay home?

Maybe in the past, you’ve gone to work sick, felt miserable, but put in your eight hours. You continued to feel bad until you finally had time to rest over your days off. Instead of one or two bad days, you’ve prolonged everything and, while doing that, most likely not been performing at the top of your game. As a result, you’ve cost the company money due to productivity losses. 

Beyond just your health, you’re also endangering those around you. A flu virus can spread up to six feet away, meaning the distance you think you’re keeping may not be enough. If you have a fever, the CDC recommends staying home a full 24 hours after it goes down to limit the risk of spreading your illness. Even without a fever, you can be contagious for days after getting sick.  


Why should you make the policy clear?

Too many workplaces operate with the understanding that you should only take a sick day if you’re dying, which is a bad philosophy. If your goal is an effective and productive team, you want them healthy, which means you want their germs at home so they can rest, and no one else catches the sickness.  

Make it clear through written policy and training that employees are encouraged to stay home when they are sick. Don’t question it when they call off or act suspicious – believe them and show that you mean what you say. This way, your team will take the time they need without worrying.  


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