Sick days

Rough. I woke up this morning feeling rough.

Four years ago, I was proud that I hadn’t had a sick day in the five years I have been working at my company. The attitude was very much “we don’t do sick” and rather old fashioned.

I turned up coughing and spluttering and infected the rest of my team on many occasion – sorry about that guys. Some people took sick days, some didn’t. If you did, it was suspected you were lying or trying it on.

Reflecting on this, it was idiotic. Not only was there no trust within that company, people can’t work productively if they are ill. If the whole team is ill, mistakes are going to happen and generally everybody will have a bad time. Standards of work will fall and you’ll just end up doing the task again when you’re fighting fit.

This morning, after a restless night, I awoke and was thankful that I didn’t have to do the two-hour commute on a germ-infested train and sit in a stuffy office all day.

No, I didn’t call in sick. I knew that I could comfortably work from home, nice and warm with all the medicine and satsumas I needed.

There are many cases to be made for working from home or flexible working with only a few disadvantages that can be managed and overcome.

Personally, I know I can be at least twice as productive out of the office than if I were in it. No politics, no dramas and no extended lunch breaks because there’s a happy hour at All Bar One.

But when you’re sick, you can still be productive at home. Rather than walking to the train station in the cold then feeling cramped in the not so quiet zone, I stayed in bed a little longer then made breakfast and took the dogs for a short walk so I could get some fresh air.

By the time my official work time came around, I felt refreshed and energised. Sure, I was nowhere near 100% but turning on my laptop didn’t seem so much of a chore any more.

At home, I can tune out from the rest of the world – which is hard to do in the office when you’re under the weather.

I am fully equipped to complete my work to the best of my ability whilst collaborating with the rest of my team and at lunch time I may even have a nap.

In contrast to four years ago, where I proudly battled through the day having not achieved much, I can honestly say I will never take a job that doesn’t offer some form of flexible working.

If you’re ill, you’re ill. Stay at home, get the job done and don’t bring your germs into the office.

And if your employer has a problem with that, maybe it’s time for a new job?