Last year, almost 47% of people in the UK worked from home at some point and 17.4% of all UK workers did so full-time. This is a huge increase from previous years. While we learn to navigate “the new normal”, it’s difficult to know where boundaries and expectations lie. One thing we must remember though, is that sick days still matter – whether we work from home or elsewhere.

Why Sick Days Still Matter - Even When You're Working From Home

How many sick days have you taken during your career? Personally, my stubbornness runs deep, and I’ll try to work through any ailment. There are times when even the strongest among us must admit defeat however, and take some time to rest and recuperate. Sometimes we just don’t have the energy to make it to the office. But when we’re working from home, is that excuse really enough, or should we be expected to log on and do what we can?

According to HelpGuide, “burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands”. It is important that we learn to take care of ourselves before we reach this stage. The truth is, ‘the hustle’ has become almost a badge of honour where in reality, we should prioritise our own health and wellbeing.

Our bodies know what’s up..
They know when we’re not up to a task at hand; they know when it’s time to take a break; when it’s time to switch off and heal. When your body starts to display symptoms of illness, it’s time to help it repair. Can we really do this if we continue to work like crazy?

There are many benefits to taking days off sick – of course there is the obvious time for self-care, rest and repair. Sometimes simply “sleeping off” your illness can really help. If you do need a little extra help, taking time off work can allow you to seek the medical attention required. We all know how difficult it can be just to get an appointment with a GP. At least this can be made less stressful if we’re not simultaneously attempting to complete other mundane work tasks.

It’s time to put yourself first..
If you could no longer do your job, how long would it take the company to replace you? I’m not a doctor – I don’t claim to have any kind of medical knowledge – but I do know what it’s like to work myself into an inescapable state of exhaustion; to ignore the warning signs and the symptoms my body presented when it had simply had enough.

Hindsight is 20/20, as they say. If I had allowed myself the time to switch off and get better, a lot of problems could have been avoided. That sniffle you’ve been ignoring could become so much more. Yes, perhaps you’ll have to find the time to catch up on some tasks, but your health (both mental and physical) needs to come first.

Take that day off. Extend your weekend. Make some time to rest and heal. Whether you’re working from home or elsewhere, sick days matter.