I have been battling a stuffy nose and a sore throat for the last week, but it takes a severe sickness to cause a missed “work” day because I play professional baseball. Even if I am unable to play, I am required to go to the field to see the trainer. This sickness wasn’t nearly bad enough to keep me from work, but what if it had been? At what point is staying home better than going to work?
Viruses can spread through the workplace very easily. This is especially true in jobs with common areas and a lot of interaction. Schools are a good example of a setting where sickness spreads extremely quickly. Teachers are typically advised to stay home if they are sick. Even if you feel as though you are plenty healthy to go to work, you need to keep your coworkers in mind. If you could spread a sickness to them, you are doing everyone a disservice.
My fiancé is a nurse, and the job requires her to walk a fine line when it comes to sickness. When she is ill she needs to decide between going to work to help patients and staying home to prevent spreading sickness to those with weak immune systems. This is always kept in mind when she isn’t feeling 100 percent.
At the baseball field we are expected to perform each day. While we may spread sickness to teammates, being there to help the team win is of utmost importance. There are obvious exceptions to this, but minor sicknesses cannot keep us from playing in a game.
What is your environment like at work? Are you expected to come to work no matter what? Or is it better you stay at home with a minor illness?
How Are You Paid?
The way your pay is structured will factor into your decision to go to work or stay home. This has been evident for my fiancé as a nurse. She is paid by the hour, so if she misses work for sickness she isn’t paid for the day. She works 36 hours a week, which means she loses one third of a week’s pay every time we decides to call in sick. The lost pay is significant, and the lost dollars factor into her decision to work or stay at home.
On the other hand, many other jobs are paid by salary. My brother works as a manager for the Target Corporation. If he is too sick to work he doesn’t lose pay, though his work tends to pile up. This means he usually has to make up the time he missed on other days. He has to be smart about which days he takes off.
How Do You Make Your Decision?
There are a number of things that factor into the decision to stay home or go to work because of an illness. How do you decide? Do your workplace environment or pay structure influence your decision? What else factors in your choice?