When Should I Take A Sick Day?

When you're sick. 

There.  Done.  Problem solved.  World peace achieved.

But, really.  People should take sick days when they're sick.  People should be ENCOURAGED to take sick days when they're sick and even when they MIGHT be sick. It’s just good sense.

And not common sense! Business sense!

Sick people aren’t as productive as healthy people, for one. But you might take that as just a temporary reduction in productivity. Let’s say somebody functions at 50% when they have the flu and it lasts one week. Individually, that’s not much of a cost.

But most diseases are TRANSMISSIBLE. One person sick at work isn’t just a 50% reduction for one person for one week. They get OTHER people sick. Mathematically modeled, diseases have an R-Naught (Basic Reproduction Number) that suggests the number of people that one case will infect. The various strains of flu seem to have an R of ~1.5 (some higher, some lower, with the 1918 pandemic flu coming in at R2-R3!) Anything greater than R1 (meaning each 1 sick person creates more than one sick person) means the disease can spread.

Suddenly one person coming in and sneezing on the coffee pot becomes ten people down with the flu. Then we’ve got five weeks worth of lost time, and some VP higher in the org has missed a promised delivery date and we lose an account and somebody gets laid off.

And it’s all Derrick’s fault for coming to work with his gross snot-plague! I didn’t want to lay anybody off, but Derrick apparently did because he came to work with smallpox.

Thanks, Derrick. Thanks a lot.

If you think Derrick should take sick days when he’s sick, hit us up on Twitter at @WLImbalance or use #WLICast.

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