5 good reasons to stay at home when you’re sick


There have been several articles and segments in the media recently about the hard hitting effect of flu and colds at this time of year. Think you should ‘soldier on’ and go to work when you are sick? Wrong! Here are five reasons you should stay home when you are unwell or recovering from illness.


1. To avoid making your colleagues sick

By going to work when you are sick, you increase the risk of spreading illness to those around you. Consider the burden this creates in the workplace as more and more colleagues become sick.

Studies have demonstrated that it only takes one person to significantly spread an infection, which then extends the duration of the outbreak.


According to Dr Alan Hampson, Chairman of the Australian Influenza Specialist Group, you are generally considered to be at greatest risk of catching the flu from someone when you are within a metre of the sick person, though there is evidence that infectious flu-containing particles can travel even further. When you consider how closely many people work alongside colleagues, the risk of infection in the workplace is alarmingly high.


2. To stop the spread of illness

It is not only your colleagues who may be affected by your illness: what about other people that  you come into contact with each day – on your coffee run, buying your lunch, on your commute to and from home? Although young, fit people can recover from the likes of a cold or virus relatively quickly, other demographics – such as the elderly – may incur more serious complications.


3. To recover properly

By attending work, you could exacerbate your health problems and later have to take a longer period of sick leave to recover.


It is generally recommended that people stay home at least 24 hours after becoming free of fever without taking analgesics. Painkillers suppress symptoms but do not aid recovery, and it is therefore irresponsible for people to suggest you can carry on with your daily activities in this scenario. Returning to work too soon can also have serious health implications. In the case of the flu, it can lead to a number of other problems as your immune system is suppressed and your respiratory tract is left susceptible to infection.


4. To avoid wasting time at work

By going to work when sick, you are not working to your full capacity.  A study from 2018 found that ‘sickness presence’ (or ‘presenteeism’ – continuing to work when unwell) accounted for more working time lost than absenteeism. The study also found that going to work when sick had a more negative impact overall than simply taking those days off.


5. To minimize disruption for your employer

Not allowing your body to recover properly possibly resulting in more time off, more sick co-workers and none of you working efficiently is not good for business.  According to a 2016 New Zealand government report,  the annual indirect costs of ill-health in New Zealand – not including accidents and injuries – are at least $5.4 billion and could be as much as $13b


So, next time you are feeling under the weather, consider staying in bed!


based on an article



Heather Knewstubb
Time Genie Personal Concierge Services
Kapiti Coast
Ph: 022 394 8493