If you live in Seattle, or the surrounding areas, you have undoubtedly been bombarded with news and information about the virus that has made its way into the Pacific Northwest. With each new update about covid-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention continues to urge us all to stop the spread of germs. To do our part in preventing this virus from spreading further, the CDC advises that we follow proper hand washing protocol (or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol), cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue (then quickly dispose of the tissue), and stay home if we are feeling sick.

With CNBC’s website posting just last November that 90% of workers report coming into work when they are feeling under the weather, isolating ourselves when we are feeling sick is arguably the most difficult advice to put into practice. Of the workers that were surveyed, 54% said that they couldn’t miss work despite feeling ill due to an overwhelming workload, 40% explained that they didn’t want to waste a sick day, and 34% described feeling pressure from their employer to come into work regardless of the status of their health. While these are all valid concerns, it is important that with the covid-19 threat in the Seattle area, we follow the advice of the CDC and stay home if we are feeling ill.

The following are a few of the ways that you can get ahead of your concerns about staying home from work:

  • To ease your mind about the financial ramifications of staying home from work, make sure to educate yourself on your company’s sick leave policies. You will also want to discuss your options for working remotely with your boss- you may be able to work from home so that you do not use up all of your sick days.  
  • Request a brainstorming session with your boss to determine how your team can remain productive should you become ill. Consider which tasks and responsibilities can be accomplished while working remotely, the technology and resources that are available to make working from home a realistic option, and what areas of your job will need to be delegated to the rest of the team if staying home becomes a necessity.  
  • Sit down with your team and discuss projects, tasks and responsibilities that you are in charge of that will need the attention of the rest of the team if you need to stay home. Determine who will fill those areas of your role and the best way for them to get ahold of you if and when they have questions.
  • Keep the lines of communication open even if you are physically closed off. Contact your boss at the first sign of illness so that they can immediately start preparing for your absence and make any necessary schedule changes or shifts in responsibilities. Continue to communicate with your team while at home; whether that is in regards to the work that you are completing remotely or to let your team know that you truly need to take time off to recover. 

Lastly, make sure that as people are staying home from work because of illness and fear that they may infect others, that you put any personal days on hold. Right now, we need to adopt an “all hands on deck” mentality to ensure that productivity doesn’t plummet in the upcoming weeks.