We might be known around town for keeping computers healthy and free from viruses, but at Evologic we also care deeply for the physical and mental health of our employees and clients. It’s no secret we love IT, but we also know that there are health risks involved with using computers. We maintain ergonomically sound workstations and encourage employees to take regular breaks, but with the pandemic, we’ve noticed an unhealthy trend arising in the distributed workforce.
The uptake of cloud-based technology has enabled teams to collaborate and work effectively from varied locations, including at home. Given the necessity to log in from the home office, it has also become common practice for workers to continue their daily grind even when under the weather. While a mild cold need not prevent someone from tackling emails, an illness that is ignored can have lengthy repercussions.
Evologic’s Head of Sales Ben Revitt has first-hand experience of working through illness.
“I was working from home with a scratchy throat. Five days later and I still wasn’t better because I stayed online. My partner had the same thing but was better in two days because she took the time to rest.” Therein lies the danger of people not taking time out when they should. Because people don’t get enough rest and remain sicker for longer, they are less productive over an extended period (although we can guarantee Ben’s performance levels remained exemplary ;).
A commitment to push on and plough through is reported by abc.net.au as ‘a phenomenon known as “presenteeism” – reduced productivity at work due to health problems – which costs the Australian economy more than $34 billion a year.’
Why is rest important when you’re ill?
Illness uses your body’s natural energy to heal, so when you’re very sick, you feel depleted in other areas such as mental alertness or physical strength. If you continue to use that energy to work, your body won’t have enough left over to kill off those germs. If you’re working from home, jumping on the laptop is understandably tempting, especially when there may be work piling up on the days you take sick leave. While some may argue that working on a computer doesn’t require much physical energy, work pressures can contribute to stresses that drain the body’s resources.
What if you’re not that sick?
There are different levels of illness, but medical experts believe you should simply listen to your body. If you have a mild cold and genuinely feel up to cracking on, that’s your prerogative. Just don’t head into the workplace for obvious reasons. If you are showing signs of influenza, or you’re experiencing some form of gastroenteritis, rest is essential and where Evologic is concerned, non-negotiable. According to betterhealth.vic.gov.au, ‘Influenza is a viral disease that causes widespread illness every year. For vulnerable Victorians, like young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system or chronic medical condition, the flu can have serious and devastating outcomes.’
The most common symptoms of the flu are:
- sudden appearance of a high fever (38°C or more)
- a dry cough
- body aches (especially in the head, lower back and legs)
- feeling extremely weak and tired (and not wanting to get out of bed)
- aching behind the eye
- loss of appetite
- sore throat; and
- runny or stuffy nose
Worried about taking a sick day?
That’s understandable, but don’t be. As the pandemic resulted in an economic downturn and job loss, some employees have been rightly concerned about their employment status. This fear has inevitably lead to more ‘presenteeism’ and employees insisting on continuing to work remotely when sick. However, you should never feel bad about taking sick leave when you need it. In fact, it’s the law. Under the Fair Work Act 2009, an employer is not allowed to dismiss an employee if the employee is temporarily absent from work because of illness or injury.
Cold and flu season is coming up, so from all of us here at Evologic, stay well. If you are sick with a bad flu, put down the computer and go back to bed!