WHEN I was an ordinary staff member some years ago, I went to great lengths to carefully organize a good ‘sickie.’’
This took some careful planning, with preliminary coughing on Tuesday and Wednesday and growing increasingly “hot”. This was followed by the old:
“I feel really crook and I’m worried I might give it to the staff” on Thursday.
By 3pm that afternoon people were practically begging me to “go home and get better…and don’t worry about us, we’ll be fine.”
And so I was free; the sickie long weekend was on!
Flash forward a few years and I was the boss. I despised one day sickies because I knew what they were up to and I was powerless to stop it. Every sniffle, migraine, ache and pain was treated with disdain.
Well, it seems sickies are now officially good for you.
They provide a real benefit to your health because they allow you to wind down, relax and forget about work for a while. And they allow you to get some much needed sleep.
Turns out, we are one of the most sleep deprived countries in the world with 37% of us averaging less than seven hours a night.
And sleep deprivation affects your work and your productivity. The truth is, we all need a mental health day once in a while because sleep deprivation could lead to depression, anxiety and emotional instability.
A trial of four day weeks in New Zealand showed that workers actually improved their productivity by 20% working one less day a week. The trial was monitored by the University of Auckland.
The trial showed the biggest increases were in commitment and empowerment with staff stress levels down by 7% and work-life balances increasing from 54% to 78%.
If you enjoy the occasional sickie – and 81% of us have – there are some tips to get the boss on side from one who knows.
- Lead by example and show them that you’re much more contented and less stressed in your work after your sickie.
- Become more productive if possible in the week after your sickie to show you tried to make it up.
- Whatever you do, don’t act too happy before and after. Make out your sickie was a burden, but you feel better.
Let the coughing begin! Has anyone seen my thermomenter?
By Dallas Sherringham