Indeed it was one of those mornings. Slight temperature, terrible cough, light-headed. And, wearing pajamas, slippers and a ball cap. I drove my son to school, feeling miserable and hoping no one would see me as I skulked through the drop-off procession. I came home and threw on sweat pants and hovered over the computer, still working, albeit looking like well, like I felt – a mess.
I remember having this similar bug last year. I now realize how anxious and over-thinking I had become. I would get up at 4 a.m. when I was sick in order to get my ill body adjusted to moving and being active. I would force myself to read e-mails and drink a week’s worth of coffee. Then I would hop in the car for the long commute and pretend that I felt better only to crash at noon and need to come home. But I rarely did. I just hated to take a sick day- I always worked in places where sick days were frowned upon. Better to spread the germs than be perceived as weak. Sick days – really?
I am now living what we all really know. You can be under the weather AND productive. It doesn’t always work – temperatures over 101 can be a deterrent. But mostly, we all just feel bad sometimes, but yet we know sweatpants, our favorite mug and a warm blanket at our home office makes it all ok to get that report finished on deadline. I believe we can work when mildly sick and that we do so in a nontraditional manner. I alternate: work, nap, Mucinex, work, hot tea, in bed and pjs with my Mac. That computer power cord stretches a long way over to my comfy mattress. I not only felt better quicker, but man, I actually made some progress and money while I was feeling awful.
I can enjoy this privilege of working whenever and however I need to because I am a consultant. But the reality is, I could have done the same if I were still working in an office. I seemed to always land in positions where telecommuting and working from home were taboo. Why do we still have workplaces that inflexibly demand long hours and place-bound productivity? In today’s world, that is silly and in tomorrow’s world, millenials will be changing that practice. As I wrote in my post, xx, they see balance as a priority. My hope is that, as they become the leaders of our world, they manage to that same balance.
So, I am calling all nonconsultant managers to reconsider the work week when your team is under the weather. I believe most of the contemporary world has high-speed internet. Most homes have computers and telephones. Even Facetime and Skype for those really important in-person conversations. Have heart – both for the sickie and for those around them who don’t want to get ill. Let’s start a revolution to allow all employees to use their sick leave and flex time as needed. Imagine. A revolution to do the right thing.
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