Tuesday, October 09, 2007
A voice from the hallway said, "Hold the elevator."
We did. On reflection, perhaps we made the wrong choice.
A man with weepy eyes and a runny nose got on. Sneezing, he looked like death warmed over.
A few days later, my throat was scratchy, my body achy and I was sneezing constantly. I looked like death warmed over... but wearing fuzzy slippers.
Now I have no way of knowing for sure whether the elevator "germ man" got me sick. And before my mom calls, let me say I know it is not nice to call people names, but it is hard to be compassionate when you feel dizzy every time you stand up. Fortunately, the fever has passed. But my opinion is still the same: I am sick (yes, pun intended) and tired of people coming to work ill when they should be at home recuperating.
You might wonder why I am downright evangelical about this topic. I use to be just like the "germ man." My conversion happened a few years back when I developed a pinched nerve in my neck. A supervisor made me feel guilty for calling in sick. (Apparently MY pinched nerve was an inconvenience for HER.) So, high as a kite on pain pills, I worked. And I seethed. Perhaps it was the influence of the drugs, but I had an epiphany: Sick days exist for a REASON. From that point, I vowed to stand my ground when I was sick.
Staying home when you are sick is not only the best thing for you, but also your company. According to a study released last year, "presenteeism" is a growing concern for businesses. When people come to work sick, they are less productive and are likely to infect co-workers. Interestingly, the study also found that companies with low morale also have more ill workers showing up for work.
With flu and cold season quickly approaching, I want to know what you think. Is "presenteeism" a problem at your office? Do you feel obligated to work even when you are sick? And if so, why?
I look forward to reading your responses. In the meantime, I need to grab some disinfectant. I just heard someone sneeze.
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