With the pandemic, most people are now accustomed to remote working. Gone are the days where we are fidgety when we handle our tasks online. Instead, most feel productive when they work in the comforts of their home. More family time, fewer expenses, no commute, yes, please!
But the adoption of remote work still has its lapses. For one, how can you call in sick if you’re working from home? I mean, if you can move your hands, you can probably finish your tasks online anyways?
Wrong. It should not be the case. Let’s discuss why remote working is affecting your sick days and what to do about it.
Sick Leave and Presenteeism
In an office job, we all have sick leaves. Practically, we file our sick leaves because we can’t go to work from our illness. Imagine commuting or driving with a high fever. Not to mention, you can even spread diseases in the workplace. Or worse, you can get injured just by being present because of your weak state. You should just rest at home.
But what if you’re working at home? When can you say that you should take a day off?
It is where presenteeism is rampant. Depending on the company culture, online workers are expected to work regardless of their current physical, emotional, or mental state. Fewer people are taking sick leaves. After all, you can just “rest” for a few hours and then work again.
And based on a study, working while not functioning fully can cut individual productivity by one-third. In essence, companies are paying full price for possibly subpar performance.
Understanding the Healing Process
But why should you care if they are paying you anyway? You must understand the healing process.
To truly heal, we should be at rest. And it allows our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) to take over. When we are relaxed, the PNS conserves energy to regulate bodily functions. But to enter this, we should be in a restful state.
If you’re working with all your looming deadlines, your stress levels will still be at “fight or flight.” How can you be in a restful state when you’re forcing yourself to be productive? And when that happens, it will be a cycle that carries over the next day. There will be a point when you can’t take it anymore.
What’re a few day’s rest to be ready for the challenges moving forward?
Battling Sick Day Guilt
What if you just want to be a team player? Sacrifices should be made for the welfare of the group, right? For emergencies, sure. But most of the time, it should not be at the expense of your health. It’s not like you’ll be resting for the whole month for your sick leave.
Think about it. If you’re not giving your 100%, you might just be dead weight to the team. Isn’t it better to just rest and give your 100% when you recover? Think about this when you feel guilty taking the day off.
Mental Health Problems Deserve a Sick Leave
With the pandemic, many had problems with their mental health. People feel loneliness, anxieties, depression, and more mental health concerns as they brave today’s uncertainties.
It’s not just “in your mind.” Mental health problems are real diseases. Mental health problems are valid conditions that need addressing. If left unchecked, mental issues can even affect your physical health.
But who would understand if you take a leave because of it? Well, they don’t need to understand. Do it for yourself.
Just imagine, will you work when you have an injury that needs tending? No. You need rest.
It’s the same thing with your mental health. Again, it’s a real disease. It’s time to use your leaves for it if necessary.
Don’t Be Afraid to Communicate
When you have a healthy work culture, sick leaves should not be taboo. Sometimes, it’s all in your mind. Ask away and communicate your concerns.
Tell your bosses (nicely) that, even if you’re working from home, you should have clear boundaries. And you need the rest to recover from what you’re feeling right now. They would understand.
Find Other Opportunities
What if you have a toxic work environment? What if you’re expected to work and be on call 24/7? It might be time to find better opportunities.
I promise you; there will be companies that are humane enough to understand your personal needs and boundaries.
You can scout other options like the following jobs listing. If you found another job or you saved up enough money to resign, it might be best to try other clients.
How important are your sick days? Your time off is crucial for your well-being. Protect your sick leaves and use them wisely. Cheers!