Q&A: My cubicle mate always comes to work sick. What can I do?

An extra day or two at home allows sick employees to be more productive when they return.

We all have those colleagues who show up at work looking green, sneezing, hacking and sniffling away — coworkers who insist on coming into the office when they are clearly under the weather. These offenders consider themselves troopers (“I never miss a day of work!”) and apparently have no issues with spreading their germs throughout workspaces. So what can the healthy folks in the office do to dissuade the infected from coming in? Vancouver-based etiquette expert Margaret Page says, “We live in a world filled with technological advancements and those eager to get back to work even when they ought not to may still accomplish a lot of work at home or while convalescing,” she says. “An extra day or two at home will not only allow employees to be more productive when they return, but builds goodwill and respect with coworkers in the office.” Page says it’s fair to voice your opinion as long as you’re able to without using charged language or negative emotion. “If you’re unable to encourage fellow employees to stay home with a voice that inspires action rather than ridicules, leave it up to HR to deal with.”

About the Author

Lisa van de Geyn


Lisa van de Geyn is a freelance writer based in Toronto.

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