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With the COVID-19 pandemic there has been shift in thinking about how we treat those coming to work when they are sick. More people are working from home while sick rather than taking sick leave.

Findings in the fifth Workplace Wellness Report by Southern Cross and Business New Zealand show that close to 90% of businesses have made it clear that staff should stay at home when they were sick, but 62% report sick staff working from home.

People being able to work from home has its benefits but there is a risk that people are working even if they are unwell. With a up to 50% of the population being able to work from home, the lines between work and life are becoming increasingly fuzzy.

For many people, working from home while they are sick is a convenient option, if their employer allows it. It prevents spreading contagious illnesses around your work colleagues and that is something we are all trying to avoid now.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, if people called in sick, they were out of the office until they were well, but now there is a temptation for employees to log in and work. The onus is on the employee to stand firm and not work when they are ill. If you are unwell, you are not focused, not focused leads to mistakes and mistakes can cost – emotionally, physically, and financially.

Employers must accept that staff sickness is inevitable and resist the temptation for ask staff to complete work at home.

Working from home makes it harder for employers to see when employees are ill, so they are less likely to tell people to take sick leave. Employers need to actively encourage employees to take time away from work when they are sick.

As a rule, it is always best to stay home when you are sick. So, the next time you wake up with a runny nose, cough, and a headache. Stay home and rest. By Law you are entitled to 10 working days sick leave. If you need to use it, use it!

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and no intended as a substitute for specific professional advice on any matter and should not be relied upon for that purpose.