Friday, October 30, 2009

It Is Not Heroic to Show Up to Work Sick

Great commentary from the folks at Armada Corporate Intelligence, who write the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Daily Business Brief:

The End of “Typhoid Mary” at the Workplace?

In the panoply of things that have bugged me for years (and there are so many) is the determination of people to spread disease in the name of corporate gamesmanship. We all have these people in our midst. They struggle in to work hacking, coughing and sneezing. They can’t function at all as they are in the grips of the flu or some other malady but they think they are showing commitment and loyalty by
showing up to infect everybody else. They refuse to stay home and carry their illness like a badge of honor I am equally baffled by the company that doesn’t demand they take sick leave or at least encourage it. Have they not noticed that one afflicted person will soon ensure that the whole staff is falling apart. Things appear to have changed a little with H1N1flu.

Analysis: Now the reactions are different. People are aware that this strain is brutal and they don’t want it. I have now seen people who would be tolerated in the old days receive the kind of shunning that used to be worthy of a religious cult. One guy was attempting to board an aircraft in the grips of an explosive case of the flu and no less than three fellow passengers provided him with a face mask accompanied by threats that he had better keep it on or suffer bodily harm. I have seen offices issue strict orders that the sick stay home and well away from colleagues and there are far more hand washers in the public toilets than usual. It can only be hoped that this pattern continues once this year’s crisis passes. It is NOT heroic to show up sick. It is selfish and massively inconsiderate.