GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Stay home. It's a message doctors and probably your coworkers would like you to follow if you show up for work and you're sick.
But for some people deciding is a struggle: Should I call in?
A recent survey shows 78% of the people who participated say they feel pressure to keep working when not feeling well. Dr. Sam Hanson Willis with Allina Health’s Greenway Clinic in St. Louis Park says the decision is tough.
“Deciding is complicated. It is your income. It is your family. People do sometimes ask, ‘Should I go to work,’” he said. “It is rare now for us to quarantine colds. Work exceptions might be if you work in a hospital or a childcare facility. There might be rules about returning to work when you are sick.”
The survey showed that 42% of workers feel stressed when they attempt to call out sick.
“That is something I hear from patients. Certain work environments can be harder to communicate to your workers and colleagues,” he said. “I certainly do write notes for patients helping them communicate to their employers she really does need to stay home and take care of themselves. Doing so helps you get better quicker. It helps keep your coworkers from getting sick. It really does help to take the time to rest and heal.”
He doesn’t recommend for people who have been diagnosed with pneumonia or a fever to work through the pain.
“If you have a fever of 103 and 104, it is a good question to ask why do I have that fever? If you are in a work environment where the health of those you are around would be compromised of getting sick, that is something you want to think about before going to work,” he said. “That can be suggestive of an influenza diagnosis. The question of do I got to work becomes do I got to the doctor?"
He also says managers set the tone for the work environment.
“Bosses set the tone for what is acceptable in a work environment, if you want to demonstrate taking care of yourself and the community around you, doing that for yourself shows your employees that is important,” he said.
You can find the survey here.