Has ‘working from home’ put the sick day on its death bed?

Why take a sick day when you can work from home? American workers are having a hard time shutting off.

With more employees than ever able to work remotely – and the American work ethic as misguided and fear-based as ever – calling in sick in today’s digital world often means “calling in sick, but assuring your boss you’ll still be working from home,” the New York Times reports.

While it’s good that people aren’t tromping into the office while ill, infecting those around them – (1 in 4 workers would need to be in the hospital in order to call out sick, according to research) – there’s something to be said for taking an actual, resting sick day instead of maintaining productivity from home while feeling unwell.

Even Supreme Court Justices do it, like what “Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently did, when she was absent from the Supreme Court to hear arguments in a case while she recuperated from cancer surgery. She would participate from home, Chief Justice John Roberts said.”

Employees are often too afraid of falling behind to stop working completely. Others are afraid of the message calling in sick, then doing nothing all day, might send.

“Will it be seen as a sign of a lack of loyalty or tenacity?” Kit Warchol, the head of content marketing for Skillcrush, told the Times. Her company doesn’t offer sick days per se, but “rather depends on employees to responsibly manage their time and communicate with coworkers if they can’t work because of illness or other circumstances.” Sounds like a set-up that can easily devolve into round-the-clock work.

Now, apparently, workplaces aren’t as full of coughing workers afraid to take a sick day, and it’s a good next step that they’re contained safely at home. If they would stop working.

Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.