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The Fine Art Of Calling In Sick
by Chris Malone,posted Jan 28 2013 5:35AM
Calling in sick to work? Let's be honest, there's a good chance you really aren't sick. According to a 2012 study by business retailer Staples, about 80% of workers show up at the office even if they are sick. Additionally, 66% say they go to work even though they have an illness that’s contagious.
I can understand why. For me and the behind-the-scene duties I'm tasked with would fall behind and once you fall behind it's a big job (usually involving after hours and weekends) to catch back up.
However your co-workers will not take it kindly if you end up causing them to become sick too. So what to do? Experts weigh in with some advice.
Peter Handel, chief executive at Dale Carnegie Training, a New York City-based international business services outfit, says to be realistic. An employee should call in sick when their illness is still contagious and their productivity will decline significantly due to their illness. “If an employee knows the quality of their work will be negatively affected due to their illness, it is best for all parties involved to call in sick,” Handel says.
Cut yourself some slack. Staffers often feel like they're so vital the office can’t survive without them. That’s a mistake. “We encourage employees to take care of themselves when needed in order to ensure they continually perform their best,” he says. Rouse yourself on a “temporary” basis. Client meetings and high-profile calls scheduled far in advance are often legitimate reasons for employees to try to get into the office even if they are feeling under the weather. If it’s impossible to reschedule, employees can offer to call in from home to not miss an important meeting.
Get ahead of the problem. Employees should make the decision to call in sick as early as possible — even the night before if possible, Handel advises.
First, notify your immediate supervisors and managers via email and phone. This ensures the message is received in a timely fashion.
Be in contact with the people you work with and communicate your list of urgent to-dos to them. “If there is anything that needs immediate attention while you are out, your proactive communication will allow for speedy delegation and completion,” Handel says.
Remember that it is the responsibility of the sick employee to ensure that all daily responsibilities and tasks are completed. “It is not the manager’s responsibility to delegate tasks, nor is it a colleague’s responsibility to figure it out in a sick employee’s absence,” he adds.
Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching things such as elevator buttons, printer buttons, refrigerator handles, telephones and widely used computers.
Wipe down your desk space with anti-bacterial wipes.
Get plenty of sleep during the winter months. Being well-rested is a great defense to avoiding getting sick.
Use hand sanitizer, or if you are really concerned, get a flu shot and make sure you consult your doctor.