Operation Crisis Management: How to Work When You’re Sick

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Before you read this post, please note that I am not a medical professional of any kind. You should always check with your healthcare provider before taking any medical advice!

No matter where we come from, what we do for a living and how much money we make, we are all bound to get sick at one point in time or another. I see it often enough where I work- no one is impervious to germs, and if you are, well this post is not for you. (But please let us in on your secret.)

For those of who do get sick from time to time we know what a drag it can be, not just because you’re not feeling physically well, but also because of the havoc it can wreak in your life. The kids still need feeding, the laundry still needs doing and unfortunately the bills still need to get paid so many of us find ourselves still working- in a personal or professional capacity- even through we’re still ill.

It can be tempting to jump right back into things at the thought of all the backlog that awaits your return, but if you’re able to do it, try to take as much time off as you need. Remember that asymptomatic people can sometimes still be contagious, so it’s always a good idea to consult with a doctor about returning to work safely.

If you do get time off, treat it as a gift- an opportunity to pamper yourself and recover. Workaholics take note: taking care of yourself is more about getting rest and plenty of fluids, not catching up on your paperwork. The body needs time to recuperate.

Of course it’s not always possible to take a lot of downtime for yourself when you’re feeling under the weather. If your employer is flexible, you might be able to negotiate a slower return to work, or make up extra hours from home. Even if you have to face reality a little sooner than you’d like, it’s a wise idea to take things slow and be kind to yourself– you’re not going to be the most alert, clever or productive employee when you’re not feeling your best. That’s ok.

If you’re lucky you have caring and supportive friends, family and co-workers that can come to your rescue during your time of need. They may not be able to wave a magic wand to make you feel better, but you’d be surprised how much a helping hand can boost your spirits, even if those helping hands are only doing a load of dishes.

Help people to help you by letting them know about what’s going on with you. Keep the lines of communication open and let everyone know when you expect to be back at work, and how they can help facilitate your transition back at the office. Remember that you’re not the only one that could be inconvenienced by your illness so make sure the appropriate people have the necessary information to cover for you, or continue a project in your absence.

It’s no fun being sick, but there’s no reason it should turn into a complete crisis. If you’re prepared, and you make sure you’re covered at work, the only thing you have to focus on is getting better.

And I really hope you do feel better soon.

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Are you feeling run down or sick all the time? It could be experiencing burnout. Click here for more solutions on how to achieve a healthier work/life balance here.

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