Lisa Allen

Sick days
Sick days

With flu season in full swing, there has been a lot of talk about employers wanting their employees to stay home if they’re sick. Unfortunately, though, with the cutbacks that many companies have seen due to the economy, you may have a lot of responsibility and no one to cover for you so you feel as if you can’t miss a day or two. Additionally, some people tend to go to work when they’re not feeling well because they feel guilty about burdening their co-workers with having to cover for them in their absense.

Careerbuilder.com offers some tips for how to make sure nothing falls through the cracks while you are out:

Don’t delay: If you’re feeling under the weather, call in sick as early as you can — the night before if possible. Follow your company’s procedure for calling in sick, whether it’s calling human resources or your immediate supervisor. Notify them via both email and phone to ensure the message is received in a timely fashion.

Offer to call in to important meetings: Workers often think that their responsibilities and obligations are so important that they aren’t entitled to a well-deserved and needed break. Client meetings and high-profile calls that are scheduled far in advance are often legitimate reasons for workers to try to get into the office, even if they’re feeling under the weather. However, if you’re highly contagious, it might not be worth it. Participating in a meeting while sick can mean you’re productivity will be low, perhaps causing you to do more harm than good. If you don’t think you can sit out of an important meeting, offer to join by phone instead.

Stay in contact: If you’re worried about missing deadlines or getting piled under tons of work when you’re back, take steps to avoid it. Notify your team every day that you’re out, and communicate your list of urgent to-dos. If anything needs immediate attention, hopefully that list should allow for speedy delegation and completion. Remember — it’s the sick employee’s obligation to ensure that all daily responsibilities and tasks are completed when taking a sick day. It isn’t the manager’s responsibility to delegate tasks, nor is it a colleague’s responsibility to figure it out in a sick employee’s absence.

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