My husband is probably about the healthiest person I know (apart from me) in that he’s had, maybe, 4 days off work sick in 25 years… the last day off being in 1999.
But this week, horror of horrors, he got a bug and couldn’t go into our office on Thursday.
No big deal, or at least I didn’t think so.
But for him, it was disastrous.
All he could do every time I called him to make sure he was okay and offer my undying sympathy (oh, and to ask him to get the washing out of the machine and put a new load on) was apologise for being a weakling and pathetic and all the other things that men actually are when they think they’re ill.
Do you see what I just did there? I did it again… I created an atmosphere where people (in this case my hubbie) are worried about being ill. Which, let’s face it, is going to happen to everyone from time to time.
Now, I know this is a bit different for us in EB, particularly as business owners and we feel that we can’t be away, even for a few hours and that might even be true. I suspect that’s why my husband was so apologetic…
But it’s not true of everyone, particularly are employees and I would hate to think that any of the people who for me would be so apologetic for being ill for a day.
But it’s all about balance. I certainly don’t want people to struggle into work if they are ill… mostly because they might give it to me. On the other hand I don’t want any member of the team to stay off if they happen to sneeze the evening before.
It’s all about walking the fine line, about giving the people who work for you the incentive to come into work but not the fear of being off.
For me a pretty simple technique works really well. When someone is thinking about being off sick they have to call me before 8 in the morning.
Call me… on my mobile… at home. Not text or email. Call.
People who are genuinely feeling RAG (that’s a TLA for Rough As Guts) don’t mind calling. Those that don’t feel as bad as they’d like to suddenly think they might struggle into work after all.
It was a bit difficult for me husband though.
He would have a felt a bit stupid calling from the next pillow.