Should I Take a Sick Day?

Why calling in sick is a good career move

Many employees feel pressured to power through a sick day and show up for work even if they're exhausted and feverish. They see their boss and other employees do it, and they want to show that they're equally committed to the company. Not only do they want to maintain their reputation, but they also don't want to fall behind on projects or watch their unread emails continue to pile up. However, failing to take your sick days can actually do more damage to you and your company than you intend.

Here are three reasons to call off when you feel bad — and how to address the issue with your boss.

You Will Not Perform at Your Best

Even if you do trudge into the office when you're sick, you're not going to function as well as you could on a normal day. You will need to take more bathroom breaks or stop to sneeze, your head will feel cloudy, and you will feel completely exhausted. It's entirely possible that you will have to redo most of the work anyway when you have a clear head.

You Will Infect Your Co-Workers

Your co-worker who sanitizes everything around her is smart. Studies have found that sanitizing areas can reduce the spread of viruses by 60 percent and can reduce absenteeism in schools by 50 percent. This is because viruses spread rapidly through the office setting, which means you will spread your illness to all of your co-workers within a few hours of arriving at work.

You will leave your germs on anything you touch: the conference table, the door handle, and even the coffee maker. Even if you try to contain your germs, you're bound to leave a trail through the office. Soon your co-workers will be coughing and wheezing with you, frustrated that you brought sickness into their area.

You Will Recover Faster

When you feel sick, you have two choices: you can spend the whole week operating at half capacity, or you can take a few days off and return completely rested. There's science behind the logic of taking a sick day: your white blood cells attack viruses when you sleep, and people who slept less than eight hours were three times more likely to catch a cold. By taking time for yourself, you can spend the whole day comfortably recovering instead of burdening your body further with the pressure of work.

How to Take a Sick Day

If you need to take time off of work, let your boss know immediately. It's better to let them know as soon as possible so they're not wondering where you are. If possible, call them and review what your day required and what you will miss, offering suggestions for rescheduling or fill-ins. This way your boss won't have to worry about picking up your slack, because you reorganized everything for them.

Even the strongest and healthiest employees need to take sick days every once in a while. We need to remove the stigma that comes with time off and understand that we will all be healthier and more productive because of it.