The Right and Wrong Way to Call in Sick
It seems inevitable, as soon as the calendar flips to the fall months there’s a rise of illness in the workplace. Blame it on the cold wind, exhaustion from the prior months or the kids going back to school. At this time of year, colds, sniffles and the flu make their appearance with a vengeance.
While many of us may have the benefit of sick days or PTO when the going gets tough, it can be difficult to know when it’s ok to use them. It feels crazy, but no matter if we have the days to take or not, it’s easy to feel like taking advantage of them could penalize you, particularly if you work in a busy, high-stress environment. You may feel that showing up while under the weather demonstrates going above and beyond or maybe you can’t surrender to a warm bed with the thought of emails and work requests piling up in your absence. Regardless of the rationalization, few of us make good decisions amid a cold medicine-induced haze.
Making the Call
Each employer will have their own recommendations for when it’s appropriate to stay home. That’s why it’s always a good idea to ask a Manager about the ground rules of sick days before the first sore throat or nagging cough materializes. In general, one rule you can always rely on is stay at home any time you have flu-like symptoms including: a fever of 100.4 F or greater, plus a cough or sore throat, along with other symptoms like runny nose, body aches, chills, fatigue, vomiting, or diarrhea.
How to Call in Sick?
Timeliness is the key. This shows consideration for yourself and for others. At the first signs of feeling sick, let your employer know you need to go home or that you won’t be in for the day. As a courtesy, be sure to give your employer an update in the afternoon as to whether you think you will be in the following day. If you are running a fever, do not return to work until you are fever free for 24 hours. This not only ensures you are recovered, it also safeguards other employees from catching the same illness.
Guarding Against Illness
- Wash hands frequently, especially after coughing or blowing your nose
- Keep hand sanitizer handy if you’re not close to soap and water
- Eat healthy, minimizing sugar and alcohol that can deplete the immune system
- Exercise regularly to boost the immune system
- Get plenty of sleep so that the body has time to recover from the stresses of the day
- Reduce stressors that can lower resistance to germs
Looking Out for You
Taking care of yourself during cold and flu season is not only beneficial for you, it’s something that benefits the entire workplace. Simple self-care steps can ensure more resilient personal health and an overall healthier work environment for all.
This article is brought to you by Staffing Kansas City, a full-service Kansas City employment agency that provides contract-to-hire, direct hire and contract employment placement services.