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Jennifer Newman: Three reasons to call in sick for work (when you're actually sick)

03/12/2015 02:57 EDT | Updated 05/12/2015 05:59 EDT
While sniffling, sneezing and coughing should be a clear sign to stay home from work, it can be hard to make that call with looming deadlines and pressure from the boss.

"Some people do feel indispensable and irreplaceable at work. They don't want to miss a day," workplace psychologist Jennifer Newman told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"People who go in sick are often people who tend to feel a lot of guilt in general, psychologically."

She shared three reasons why you should call in sick, even if you're worried about creating a backlog, or being penalized for taking a day off.

1. Good workers call in sick

Newman said when workers go in sick, they are going to be less productive and off their game.

"That strong work ethic is seen in people who do value their health. They want to put in a solid day. They're enthusiastic people, loyal, productive and often customer-oriented, so they don't really want to come in when they can't actually perform," said Newman.

2. Co-workers will resent you for going in

Newman said people often complain when a co-worker calls in sick — worried they'll catch whatever that worker has.

"I worked with an insurance company director whose employees kept sneaking into his office one morning to tell him that they wanted their colleague to go home — they didn't want to say that to the person because the person was coughing and sneezing everywhere," she said.

Newman said a worker coming in sick has a ripple effect, and will actually create a slow down throughout the workplace.

"They'll physically withdraw. You'll see people hold back their effort and they'll actually disengage from their colleagues, and be a bit angry," she said.

3. It will hurt you when you're healthy

Newman said going to work sick can also hurt your productivity after you get better.

"You will tend to eventually start to become more dissatisfied with your job, feel less motivated, not be productive," she said.

"This will also have a spillover effect because your energy will be depleted, and there's a risk of burnout."

Workplace psychologist Jennifer Newman joins The Early Edition on CBC Radio One every Thursday at 6:50 a.m.

To hear more from workplace psychologist Jennifer Newman, click the audio labelled: Go to work sick or stay at home?

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