Complex Made Simple

WFH: When was the last time you called in sick?

There is a new kind sickness that WFH employees can use as an excuse to "call in sick"

More than a third (35%) of workers say they feel too scared to take sick leave With your easy access to work, you end up working more than your counterpart in office WFH employees suffer from anxiety, stress, loneliness, and in many cases depression

When, in the recent past, employees who worked from the office called in sick, surveys said they always felt guilty about it, especially when many others braved their flu, coughs and sneezes and got to work no matter what.

Well, with COVID-19, it all changed. Some of who actually do still go to work, and experience any signs of flu-like symptoms are now asked to stay home and forget being brave.

While those at home, because they are home, don’t dare calling sick anymore.

What are you going to say? “Sorry boss, I have the flu, and can’t come to the office, oops, can’t work from home”??? 

Actually there is a way out of this for those who are sick from WFH, but let’s first look at a sick new trend.

Read: Infographic: How To manage your momentum under quarantine

Stressed but can’t call sick

Yahoo Finance quotes a new research commissioned by Panadol, saying that our ability to take time off for ourselves has taken a hit, with more than a third (35%) of workers say they feel too scared to take sick leave and more than half (51%) saying they are more stressed and struggle to get things done.

Remote work leads workers to take fewer sick days and less vacation time, resulting in more workdays overall.

Workplace well-being and resilience expert Springfox CEO Stuart Taylor said there was “a certain irony” in being scared of calling in sick, given we make that call from home anyway.

“Feeling scared perhaps stems from concern about ‘Will my boss believe me?’ or ‘How do they know I am actually sick?’” he told Yahoo Finance.

“Trust is the human antidote to fear.  When trust is in place, both parties assume the best.  Without trust, the opposite is true,” he said.

Read: Nearly a third of employees spend more time working than they did before

Mental health

With your easy access to work, you end up working more than your counterpart in office, according to reports. A bigger concern is that the psychological toll associated with this setup is often discovered too late. 

The nature of working from home often presents some difficulties in drawing lines between work life and personal life, and at the same time blurring the expectations of asking for sick leave. 

But being sick, not being focused, feeling weak, dizzy or nauseous will surely lower your productivity, and you can make mistakes, so it is quite unfair to have different standards regarding sick leaves for work from home employees.

Actually, a remote worker is much more credible when asking for a sick day, because they could easily just lay around and get paid for it, but stating a sickness creates more trust with employers.  

There is also the mental health issue of WFH especially in lockdown times, with family making a raucous, and our natural tendency to work longer hours. 

Read: Exclusive: New WFH software protects employees’ privacy, ensures productivity

Studies have shown that WFH employees suffer from anxiety, stress, loneliness, and in many cases depression. This this is the new “sick” environment that our bodies need getting used to.

When you’re sick, not just with the flu, but from depression, call in sick. 

You will work better when you feel better.