Sick at work? What to do, what not to do


America is well into the flu season. Human resources data indicates that 85 percent of workers admit they’ve gone to work when sick.

A survey from staffing firm OfficeTeam reveals that while 82 percent of HR managers said their company encourages staff members to stay home when they’re sick, 85 percent of employees have gone to the office anyway.


According to research, the top reasons workers went to the office when sick were that they felt well enough to work or they didn’t want to fall behind on assignments.

Kevin Traynor, vice president at Robert Half Finance & Accounting, states that “the downsides of going to the office when sick include inadvertently getting colleagues ill.” Individuals who are under the weather tend to be less productive.


Traynor states in the event that you are indeed sick you should let your manager know you’re not feeling well. He suggests that if you absolutely must be at work due to a major deadline or meeting, avoid getting too close to others, wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing. Try to leave the office after the critical task(s) is completed. 


If you’re feeling well enough to complete projects but are still contagious, find out if you can work from home. If telecommuting is not an option or you’re feeling too ill to tackle assignments, work with your manager to identify team members or hire temporary professionals to help during your absence.


Employees are encouraged to take steps to avoid falling ill in a workplace environment is to keep your distance from someone who is sick. Encourage co-workers to stay home and let them know you’re happy to help with projects while they’re out.

In contrast, employees who are well and up to the task should be a considerate team player during the cold and flu season and are encouraged to take steps to maintain a healthy work environment. Lend a hand. Offer to fill in for co-workers when they’re out sick. It’s likely they’ll return the favor the next time you need help.