It’s flu season. Somehow, people in your office keep disappearing and filing their sick leave. Even if you, yourself, could be suffering from that runny nose, sore throat, and pounding headache. But some days, even when you’re at your worst and down with a bad cough and cold, you just can’t leave work. No one will finish those reports on your desk, and the deadlines are right around the corner.
The right thing to do is rest, but what can you do if it’s not an option? If you’re caught with a bad cold or flu and you have no choice but to work, here are some ways you can try so you can deal with that workload on a sick day.
1. Load up on health essentials
Even if your desk or station looks like a pharmacy, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you have the means to relieve the effects of your flu or cold. You can sip on a hot bowl of soup or herbal tea during your lunch break, and make sure to stay hydrated with water. You need to stock up on vitamins and over-the-counter cold medicine to help you recover faster. If you’re coughing, reduce it by taking some cough medicine.
Try your best to give yourself proper nourishment and do what you can to minimize your dripping nose and loud coughing so you can focus on your work more. However, take note of the side effects of some medications, as they may cause you to feel drowsy or lightheaded.
It also helps to have some ointments and herbal oils that you can rub on your skin if you want instant relief from your aching muscles or clogged nose.
2. Adjust your layers
When you’re down with the flu, the fever makes things worse. You feel the heat radiate from your whole body. Still, the chills in your arms say otherwise. Dress in layers to easily add or remove one article of clothing when your body experiences fluctuating temperatures.
When you have a fever, it’s best to dress lightly so you don’t trap the heat in your body, making you feel worse. However, if you’re in an office with an air conditioner, it’s best to wrap up, especially when it becomes too cold for you to handle. Furthermore, it’s okay to dress professionally, but don’t be shy about getting that blanket to keep you warm or swapping those heels for some fluffy slippers. Make your health your top priority.
3. Schedule your time
Try working in short bursts. Don’t work continuously, or it may drain your energy faster. Do some work in a specific amount of time, then proceed to take a nap or get some rest before resuming again. You can try a 30-minute work and 10-minute break or whatever suits you. You may not finish everything in one go, but at least you were able to do some work and focus on the task on-hand.
Take it easy and don’t push your body more than you already do. If you think you can’t handle urgent work with your condition, don’t work on one. Set those critical files aside until you feel that you’re ready to take them on again.
4. Limit interactions with co-workers
Being sick is hard, and you will want some comfort beside you. But, it’s better to keep that friendly deskmate away for the time being. If you can’t stop yourself from working, consider finishing things at home where you’re isolated from others, and you can rest easily. But if your presence is highly needed in the office, make sure to take some safety precautions. Wear a mask and don’t shake hands or hug anyone, especially your family and co-workers.
Going to the office while you’re sick is risky since you’re potentially carrying a virus. You don’t want your team to get sick because of you. Even if you can’t be productive, ensure your team is still in top condition.
Another thing is, if you choose to go to work, it’s better to keep the sickness to yourself. No, you don’t have to pretend you’re okay. Toss some tissues on your floor if you want. But, if possible, you might want to limit the whining to your co-workers. Complaining to them about feeling sick during a work day might affect the mood of the people around you, or worse, they might worry about you catching the flu from them.
5. Know your limits
Can you still go on? Genuinely ask yourself if you can still push through for the day. If your symptoms are getting worse and you feel like you’re on the verge of collapsing, stop what you’re doing and call it a day. Stress can worsen your flu and delay your recovery. You have to consider things in the long run. You may be in the office, but if you can’t recover well, you will end up with more workload piling on your desk than expected.
It’s never easy to get through working days when you’re sick. Do what you can do with what energy you have. Don’t beat yourself up over unfinished work; prioritize yourself more than anything else. You deserve a rest, and if you think you can still do it, then do it lightly.