WWS – Working While Sick

Being sick, it happens to all of us. But in todays society do we take care of ourselves the way we should? Do we take our sick days, and truly rest so that our bodies can heal?

I know that myself the answer is usually not. I know that when I don’t have to be in front of a customer I tend to work when I’m sick. Even this last week when I had the flu I worked for three days before I went to the doctor. So let me go over this:

Sunday afternoon my youngest called me and wanted to come home from her moms, so I went and picked her up. She wasn’t feeling good and wanted to be home with me. Monday was Martin Luther King Day and she didn’t have school, what she did have that morning was 103 degree fever… and an appointment with the doctor. Yup, she has the flu!! I had made her get a flu shot as usual, the flu shot this year was not effective. So one pharmacy visit later she’s posted up on the couch with her medication, orange juice, bear, fuzzy blanket and NetFlix. While I continued to work, feeling steadily worse each day. Come Wednesday, I woke up feeling like a hammered bag of nastiness.

I finally took my girlfriends advice and made myself a doctors appointment, and continued to work until it was time to leave. 3pm hits and apparently I’d been working with a fever, it was 102 when I saw the doctor (explains why I’d been freezing for two days I guess). So there I am with my prescriptions, and my doctor telling me to not work (WHAT? Don’t work, surely you must be joking). So what the hell am I supposed to do? I had no customer visits, but I had work that needed to be done.


I’m not kidding this is actually what I was thinking…I don’t have time to be sick, I have RFPs to respond to, BoMs to be built, SoW’s to write. And don’t lie, you know you think the same way.


In todays culture of ubiquitous connectivity “WFX” (working from anywhere) is possible, and do I love being able to work from everywhere! But what is this doing to us physically?

Just because we can work from home, does that mean we shouldn’t take the time if we are sick? Just because we aren’t in the office, and can’t get anyone else sick should we still work? Should we continue to push ourselves to get our tasks completed, even though we are having trouble concentrating and staying on task?

I felt horrible on Wednesday and Thursday, come Friday I couldn’t even talk and it still hurts to do so today. I took the sick days, but did I really? I was still responding to emails and text messages.

Are we too connected (perish the thought!) today? What ever happened to being sick and resting? I told my daughter to sit on the couch and relax, but did I take my own advice?

“Ugh. Somebody told me the other day to take it easy or I’d relapse. I should have listened. So tired of being sick and always have too much to do so slowing down isn’t an option”

Where does this feeling, that we need to always be working, come from? I know my boss would rather have me take the time and get better so that I’m thinking clearly and can be really effective.


Should we be onsite at a customers working because “no one on the team would step up and relieve us”?


Should we even be questioning the need to rest and take the time to heal? Should we wonder “How is this going to effect the project/timeline/company?” Maybe, but remember to flip that around as well. “How is this going to affect me?”


“Work Life “

I caught a post yesterday…ummmm ok maybe it was the other day…anyway when I saw it isn’t important what it was about is, “Work Life Balance”.


What is theWork Life Balance really? Well according to that wikipedia article, it is a concept of prioritizing work and lifestyle. Any less confused? yeah me either. What this sounds like to me is you work then you play…but make sure you make time to play.

Depending on your job, can you really balance work and life? Ok, sure if you have “desk job” an “8-5” or something where you are forced into standard set hours? Sure you can manage to balance it pretty easily. Once you the 5 o’clock whistle blows, you make like Fred Flintstone and don’t think about work until 8am ( ok 8:30am) the next morning. But to me balance equates to 50/50 work/life.

But what happens if you have a job that is not bound by set hours? What if you are doing more “project based” work? Well then we take a look at Work Life Integration….yup no link for this one, I couldn’t seem to find any singular article that really defined what it is/was/should be.

So from what I can infer from reading lots of articles, Integration means working when you need to. Don’t watch the clock, work when you are best capable of completing a task. Is that 6am, or maybe for you it is 10pm after the kids are in bed and the nightly news is over. If you want to go to the gym at 11am go. if you want to go for a bike ride at 2pm, go!


To me Work Life Integration feels like “Get your work done on schedule, to the best of your abilities, be responsive to your team/customers and all is good”


With the amount of remote workers increasing, I hope that the above methodology will become more prevalent. Does it matter if i’m at my desk from 8-5 so long as I am reachable? Does it matter if I take a couple of hour break in the middle of the day, so long as I put in my time later(or earlier)?

I won’t go into how this can keep workers more focused, less stressed and in general happier. But I will end on this post that I like to read when I’ve been thinking about taking a vacation. US vs Europe