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The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Aches and Chills and Coughing, Oh My!

It officially feels like flu season to me now… why? Because I officially have the flu. There’s nothing like that feeling of aches/chills/fever/cough/stuffy head/everything ever mentioned in a cold medicine ad feeling that makes me just want to stay in bed until my body’s back to normal. But now that I’m in a position that isn’t as easy as calling in a substitute server to pick up my shift or emailing the professor to request the notes for the lecture I’m missing, I wonder how others feel about being sick in the workplace.

Is it better to be a person who never misses work and hunkers down, risking contaminating others and making the illness worse? Is it better to take time off to rest and heal and risk the boss wondering if you’re a big baby? Is it better to use up those sick days at the beginning of the year if that’s when you need them or is it better to try to hold off just in case you need them later?

While I know that most agencies don’t have a set-up to work from home, I sometimes wish it was an option for us all. In this age of technology, it only makes sense that, if half of the classes we took to get this degree were available online, shouldn’t at least half of our work be available that way too? Of course, I’m not advocating for anyone to hang a shingle with the agency logo when they’re sick at home, but sometimes I wonder if paperwork couldn’t still be completed online, allowing the person to heal and quarantine him/herself while still being productive. At the same time though, I wonder if doing such would lead already overworked people to continue to work from home during healthy times.

What do you think? If your agency offered an option to complete some of your work from your personal computer, would you do so only when you were ill or otherwise couldn’t be at the office or would it compel you to work additional hours on top of your regular schedule?

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