We’re heading into what is commonly referred to as “cold and flu” season and we know what that means:

  • The colleague that comes into the office with red eyes, clutching a box of tissues as they make their way sneezing over to their desk
  • The co-worker that attends a meeting with you and manages to practically swoon at the table as their fever climbs higher and higher
  • The office-mate that is coughing so loudly you can’t make a phone call without the person on the other end of the line asking, “is everything alright?”

These same individuals who are suffering from who knows what illness are using the office coffee maker, putting their hands all over the kitchen refrigerator and there simply isn’t enough sanitizer in the world to stop the germs from spreading.

Many people feel compelled to show up at work regardless of how sick they are and how badly they feel. These are the true workaholics and self-avowed “team players” that purport to never miss a day of work. Do they worry about getting other people in the office sick? Not a chance; work comes first. You can politely suggest that the person go home and take the time to recuperate however you know the suggestion won’t be well received.

What’s a person to do?

  • Despite the workaholic’s determination to come into the office “come hell or high water” there comes a time when even the most determined of the lot will recognize that they are simply too ill to keep going. In order to help them arrive at this decision the best solution is to eliminate the concerns that they have about their outstanding work and provide them with a solution as to how it can get done in their absence.
  • Disinfecting wipes should be at the ready and used on all surfaces that have been touched by colleagues that you feel could be spreading germs. These areas include the kitchen, receptionist desk and “communal” phones and keyboards that could spread germs throughout the office.
  • Limit your physical proximity to anyone that you feel might be contagious. Remember that sneezing and coughing can be caused by allergies so be certain to know the facts before you try to stay away from what you believe is a germ-spreading co-worker.
  • Of course you should make it a point to be as healthy as possible and that means getting adequate rest and exercise and eating nourishing foods. If you are run down and not taking care of your own health and wellbeing you will be more susceptible to the germs around you.

Don’t give up on trying to get a sick colleague to stay home. Once they feel that their work will be handled and there will be no negative repercussions from their absence you might just find that they are happy for the time off to get well and feel better.