Do you feel guilty when you take time off due to sickness? For many hard working professionals, taking a sick day can make you feel like a slacker, or being dishonest with yourself and your company. But is going into work when you’re sick the best decision to keep up your productivity? It may not always be the case!

How Much Does Lost Productivity Through Poor Health Cost The Economy?

Lost productivity due to poor health can make a big impact on the economy. For example, a study in the US found that poor health costs the US economy $576 billion per year. But this is not just from employees taking time off. 39% of this is productivity is lost by employees who turn up to work but cannot perform as effectively due to illness.

That means if you’re ill, it may be best to think twice about going in – you may not actually be able to achieve much while you’re in the office. On top of this, it’s worth remembering that your company should be able to run for a few days even with a team member out of commission. Should you really risk your health for the sake of an unproductive day, which might also mean not being at your best the following day?

How to Avoid Taking Time Off Work

Instead of pushing yourself to come in while you’re unwell, why not think of it in another way – how can you avoid being sick? There are three main ways you can do this: ensure you and your co-workers practice good personal hygiene, staying active and maintaining a good diet to boost your immune system.

Firstly, has your employer provided you with everything you need to keep the germs at bay? Some bacteria can remain active on your hands for up to three hours, giving ample opportunity for germs to spread, which can lead to the spread of salmonella, MRSA, Flu and Impetigo. As a result, good hand hygiene is essential! 

To stop the spread of germs, make sure your employer has provided well stocked soap dispensers in the bathrooms. If you have concerns about the hygiene in your office’s bathroom, you may also want to keep a pocket hand gel bottle at your desk. These small hand gel bottles allow you to sanitize your hands without water – great for keeping the germs at bay wherever you are!

Keeping fit also helps your body’s immune system. We don’t know exactly why this is, but scientists believe physical activity helps to flush bacteria from the lungs, send antibodies and white blood cells through the body quicker, as well as slowing the release of stress-related hormones. It’s becoming increasingly common for gyms to offer corporate discounts to local businesses, and as sports activities are one of the top 10 benefits that employees want to have, this is a good opportunity to work with your employer and introduce a scheme that everyone can benefit from.

A good diet also helps avoid illness, especially fruits and vegetables, which are full of vitamins, minerals and flavonoids that support immune cells. Increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables fills your bloodstream with nutrients, boosting your immune system. A great starting point for this is to manage your diet while at work. After a hard day’s work it can be incredibly tempting to get a pizza or microwave meal for dinner, snack regularly while at your desk, or buy a less-than-nutritious lunch. Why not try bringing in your own lunch from home, including fresh fruit and vegetables?

Wrapping Up

It is true that taking time off due to sickness can reduce your productivity, but it’s also true that going in when you’re not fit can cause just as much damage to the quality of your work. Instead of forcing yourself to go in when you’re unwell, make sure you take the opportunity to rest, and when you’re well, ensure you stick to a healthy lifestyle, minimising the risk of illness.

Discover more about minimising sickness in the office at: 

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