Working Whilst Sick

I’m sure all of us have worked whilst suffering some form of illness at some stage in our lives. Some of us live with chronic conditions and have no choice but to do so, whilst some of us are fortunate enough to enjoy good health but can still suffer from colds, the flu etc. For those of us in the latter category, one of the most annoying issues is when a colleague gets sick, comes to work anyway, and spreads the bug to everyone else.

It’s easy to be pissed with ‘patient zero’. They’ve left everyone else feeling groggy, sniffly and under the weather. I’m not especially thrilled to come down with colds. However, the real problem is a business culture that, between wages, the cost of living and the corporate drive to milk every member of staff as much as possible, creates a need for people to work, even when ill. I’ve worked when ill, because otherwise I’m not getting paid, such is the nature of a commission-based role. I’ve worked when sick in salaried positions, because it was expected of me. Does it help anyone to work when not at their best? Do customers receive the best care? Are colleagues supported correctly? People’s productivity suffers, the people themselves suffer (recovery time is extended by over-exerting ourselves), yet corporate culture simply doesn’t make any allowance for that – and worse, in some areas and some jobs, even punishes people for going sick. It’s a messed up system, along with a few other messed up systems, that I think needs challenging.

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