To share or not to share

Apparently being diagnosed with a ‘chronic illness’ does not qualify me for having the flu jab at my GP Surgery.  So whilst wandering around Tesco in Lincoln a couple of weeks ago I asked if I could have one there.  It did take about 15-minutes to fill out the paperwork but the actual ‘jab’ only took about 2 seconds.

Craig didn’t want to have one that particular evening – he had the wrong shirt on!!?  I decided not to analyse that particular ‘ism’.

Yesterday he started not so much with the flu as quite a nasty head cold.  Craig is partial to a heavy cold from time to time and he bears up very well in the midst of sounding like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory who needs “thoup”!  Now, me – I don’t get head colds and on the 4 or possibly 5 occasions I’ve had them – during my entire life (she says reaching swiftly for something that resembles proper wood) I’m a right baby.

Craig and I work from home – so there he is sat in the office – beavering away – with his tissues.  We also live together – obviously – so it makes no difference to me whether he works today or not, chances are if I’m going to get his cold and I’m going to get it anyway.  However, we did have a meeting planned for the afternoon so we called to re-schedule and they were very grateful that we had, so as not to spread the joy.

Clearly ‘coughs and colds’ are a category unto themselves.  If a member of staff has S&D then they clearly are not able to work.  Likewise, if someone has the flu – I’m talking proper flu here and not the so-called manflu – they simply wouldn’t be able to get out of bed to go to work anyway.  The same would go for a migraine, for example.

In my experience this topic is one that creates two opposing arguments when it comes to work and ‘coughs and colds’:

1. My position is that if you’ve got a heavy cold – keep it to yourself, stay at home for a day or two.  Don’t feel the need to share with your colleagues – it really isn’t necessary.

2. The alternative position is – go to work come hell or high water, it’s only a cold and your colleagues would likely to get it anyway.

I have worked with people – over the years – who have taken one particular stance or the other.  Two that spring to mind immediately, were definitely ‘go to work come hell or high water’ individuals. Although, whenever anyone else in the office had the sniffles they were the first to say “go home, I don’t want your germs!”  A close friend of ours actually banishes her husband to the spare room if she even thinks he might have a cold – but guess what?  Yep…when she has one, it’s okay to share!

I know, - there is always going to be someone that thinks they might sneeze in two days’ time so will absolutely need the entire week off to get over it.  I also understand from a business perspective, sick leave can be a nightmare to deal with.  From the cover required for the absence to the potential loss of immediate revenue and the long term effects that causes.

My opinion would be that regular absence can and should be managed effectively so that John Doe in the corner can’t keep having a day off because he felt poorly sick whilst at the same time encouraging all staff to consider the effects their head cold could have on an entire workforce.  Surely it’s better for one or two staff to stay away briefly to prevent even more staff having to take time off?

People working in the care sector, for example, could actually be putting others’ lives at risk.  After all, we don’t all deal with the same bug in the same way.  A head cold to one could be pneumonia to another.  I don’t even want to think about people working with food turning up with streaming colds – yuk!

So next time you’re struck down with dreaded lurgy – have a think about what you would prefer your colleagues and/or staff to do in the same situation