Why You Should Always Take a True Sick Day When You’re Sick—Even if You Work From Home
Taking a sick day used to mean taking a break from your usual commute and the grind of daily activities to stay at home and recover. But with many people still working from home, calling in a true sick day might feel unnecessary. After all, it doesn't take that much effort to grab your laptop and work from bed, right?
That's actually flawed thinking, experts say. "We as a culture don't focus enough on self-care; we focus more on doing work," says Natasha Bhuyan, MD, a family medicine doctor and West Coast medical director for One Medical in Phoenix. "We truly need to normalize recovery and self-care, especially when we're sick." Dr. Bhyuan adds that anecdotally, she believes fewer people are taking sick days while working from home because she's getting fewer requests from individuals asking for doctor's notes to show they're sick.
Not taking sick days is not a trend spurred only by the pandemic, however. Even pre-COVID, people often still went to work—even if that meant spreading germs to their coworkers—with the mindset of "powering through." If there's a silver lining to the pandemic, it might be that people are more conscious about not going anywhere if they have any symptoms of illness, suggests Dr. Bhuyan. But there are personal consequences when you don't take the time you need to let your body heal by working from home. Here are three biggest downsides to skipping out on a full sick day off.