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To think that just because you're off work sick doesn't mean you cannot leave the house

(244 Posts)
user1485342611 Thu 26-Jan-17 11:00:58

Someone has just been complaining that they spotted a colleague who is off work sick for the week out and about in their local shopping centre. Apparently if they're well enough to do that, they're well enough to be in work.

One of the reasons a doctor will certify you off work for a week is to give you time to rest and take it easy as you recover from an illness. That doesn't mean you can't leave the house. There's a big difference between getting up at 7am, facing a long commute and a full day at work, and not getting home until 6 or 7 pm; and going for a gentle browse around the local shops/meeting your mum for coffee or some such.

AIBU to wonder why people don't get this, and speak accusingly of anyone who dares to venture outside their front door when they're out of work on a medical cert?

SuperTrumper Thu 26-Jan-17 11:11:58

I think if it's a physical ailment such as a bad back or something, I'd (perhaps wrongly) be a bit judgemental if i saw them out and about doing something really physical, but walking in a shopping centre is not some kind of evidence that they're faking an injury.

If it's stress related then no I definitely would not think it was unreasonable for a colleague to be out and about. Doing "normal" non work related things is needed to mend your mind in that situation. We had a girl at work who was off for a few months with stress. She went to the Maldives for a 2 week holiday during her 3rd month off and a few people in our office moaned about it. I completely disagreed. Do whatever it takes to restore inner peace and happiness, and I doubt you can really do that enclosed indoors 24/7.

I also don't get when people moan if someone's called in sick and they've liked something on Facebook and they say "if they're well enough to be online, they're well enough to work". That's ridiculous; you could be on your death bed and I'm sure you'd still be able to muster up the energy to click a few buttons on your phone, doesn't mean you're faking it. I think people think that if you'll ill it means you should stay the whole day in bed drinking lucozade and having no contact with the outside world

pipsqueak25 Thu 26-Jan-17 11:16:49

some people just need to mind their own business, they might be the ones who get 'spied on' one day. apart from that it depends what the problem is, but then that is between colleague and boss not the rest of the staff.

user1485342611 Thu 26-Jan-17 11:18:12

I think some bosses take that attitude as well though. "why isn't she at home in bed if she's meant to be sick".

ThumbWitchesAbroad Thu 26-Jan-17 11:19:23


I got sent home from work once with labyrinthitis - inner ear infection that made me both sick and dizzy - I wasn't fit to be in work, but I still got my mum to take me to the supermarket for food because I didn't have any in the house! (I wasn't really fit to drive myself either until after the meds kicked in) I was able to go places, but absolutely a menace at work in case I fell into some expensive piece of equipment or knocked/dropped samples all over the place.

RoseGoldHippie Thu 26-Jan-17 11:19:24

Personally, if I'm off sick I won't go out unless for dr apps or pharmacy visit etc, don't think I'd be well enough to do a weekly shop if I was off sick.

However some people don't agree with this and really what they do or don't do is none of my business in this case, I don't pay their wages

BingoBingoBingoBango Thu 26-Jan-17 11:20:25

I think it depends why you're off sick.

JingleBallRock Thu 26-Jan-17 11:21:47

I was off sick once and a colleague walked past my house on the way home. I was hoovering with earbuds in and my colleague took a picture and sent it to my boss the next day saying if I was well enough to hoover and listen to music, I should be in work.

What the actual fuckety fuck?

Angrybird123 Thu 26-Jan-17 11:22:06

I'm off sick with a heavy cold. As a teacher I can't just have a quiet day tidying up my inbox, if I'm in I have to be all singing all dancing. I rarely take days off as I am conscious that as a single mum, if my kids are sick that means I have to be off and have no choice but every once in a while I just can't do it. BUT I did stop off at Tescos after the school run this morning to pick up some ingredients for a decent meal for them tonight as I'll have time to cook it. I'm not in bed but sitting v quietly drinking tea in peace. You don't have to be on your deathbed to need a day off.

PurpleMinionMummy Thu 26-Jan-17 11:23:24

It depends what they're off with really. Depresssion, no I wouldn't think anything of them being in a shopping centre, flu, throwing up and similar I would think they are obviously skiiving.

faithinthesound Thu 26-Jan-17 11:24:01

YANBU. How do people GET these doctors notes without... going to the doctor?

Reminds me of that episode of The Office where Dwight was giving Oscar the third degree about why he hadn't picked up the phone when Dwight called, if he was "home sick" as he had claimed. Oscar pointed out that he had been to the pharmacy. (Of course, it later came out that Oscar was Hollywooding, but that wasn't the point at that stage).

I do think meeting your mom for coffee is a bit off though. Essential outings like doctor, pharmacy, grocery, sure. Social calls, not cool.

And as always, a reminder that if you're really that ill it's damned selfish to go out if it's not entirely necessary, because you're spreading your germs around, and there are a lot of people who can't afford to get what you have, blah blah woof woof.

JingleBallRock Thu 26-Jan-17 11:24:19

I was signed off for a week with a cold so I wasn't physically incapacitated but couldn't talk, had a raging sore throat and was just generally a bit lethargic. Decided to hoover because if I spent another day on the sofa watching mind-numbing TV I'd have killed myself.

NapQueen Thu 26-Jan-17 11:24:44

Depends why.

I've been off for Pneumonia - bed bound the entire time
I've been off for a miscarriage - bed first week (bad pains), then had a week of staying at home getting emotionally stronger, then I had a third week where I was still out of sorts and would have been shit at my job but I did do the school run / food shop (bought odd stuff like dog food even though no dog, so I know full well I shouldn't have done it).

A colleague of mine has been off for 6 months with depression. She had a fucking shit upbringing and has lots of mental health issues. People at work are gossiping about how she is going out for drinks with friends and even on dates - good on her I say!! Anything to help get her happiness levels up.

echt Thu 26-Jan-17 11:24:51

I was off sick once and a colleague walked past my house on the way home. I was hoovering with earbuds in and my colleague took a picture and sent it to my boss the next day saying if I was well enough to hoover and listen to music, I should be in work.

It would kind of work if your actual job was to hoover withe earbuds in. grin Sorry you have to work with such an appalling twat, Jingle

faithinthesound Thu 26-Jan-17 11:26:29

Er, my comment is about physical illnesses like bugs and viruses, not mental health or injury obviously!

JingleBallRock Thu 26-Jan-17 11:28:01

echt Nope, I'm an academic!

alltouchedout Thu 26-Jan-17 11:28:21

I used to work in an office that was full of real busybody types. I have never forgotten the time one of our admin was signed off sick with glandular fever and the queen bee of the busybody brigade took it upon themselves to drive past her house and report that her car hadn't been on the drive so she was clearly faking. The office manager has insisted that our colleague bring in her sick note in person a few days before so we had all seen just how very ill she was (I thought that insistence in itself was vile), but that didn't stop the nasty gossiping. Some people are petty and mean.

Pinkheart5915 Thu 26-Jan-17 11:29:15

I think it depends what your off with.

If you have a bad back and your seen painting the outside of your house or have awful flu but are sitting in costa I'd probably judge a bit

If someone is off for depression then going out walking/fresh air can be good as a help to calm.

identityhidden Thu 26-Jan-17 11:34:51

Oh God I've been off since mid December with pelvic pain. I've been in and out of hospital, been on morphine and dozens of other meds , vomiting every couple of days, sleeping up to 14 hours a day , catheterised earlier this week due to a bad drug reaction and all sorts.

Still managed to drag myself into the shops, go out for coffee a few times and put a bit of make up on occasionally. Even in hospital (where i work incidentally) I managed to shuffle off to the shop a couple of times. I think I'd go insane if I had to spend all my time indoors, I feel isolated enough as it is. Not only that but I need to build up to doing things again, to get prepared for going back to a 12 hour manual job.

Goodness knows what my colleagues are thinking though- I know one has deleted me for some reason. Although I've spoken to my manager once a week or so and she's not once said anything to indicate I've done anything wrong.

MummyToThree479 Thu 26-Jan-17 11:34:52

Completely depends why your off

Don't call me and say you have an awful virus and then go out for pizza express at lunch because as your manager when I see you I will question it. Would you believe the girl in question actually tried to tell me she recovered in the 5 hours between calling me and lunch confused

With mental illness I'd not be surprised to see someone out and about and fresh air/meeting support network can be good.

Broken leg or such like again of course you'd go out

Flu, you'd do what you have to ( I.e dc to school) but if you couldn't work you wouldn't go to costa for cake or a walk loooking in clothes shops

It completely depends why your off

MagicMojito Thu 26-Jan-17 11:35:05

People can just be dicks. The ones that really really get me are the arses who share a bizzallion quotes and memes on fb about anxiety/depression "strong women that have stayed too strong for too long" but then the minute a colleague takes time off work with stress etc. Thry are giving it the whole hmm face and bitching about them. Wtaf is that about?? confused

SugarLoveHeart Thu 26-Jan-17 11:35:48

Agree about fresh air. I was off work once with a desperate headache. As it started easing off I went for a nice stroll. Perfect for work again the next day. I don't think more time in bed would have helped...

paddypants13 Thu 26-Jan-17 11:36:56

It definitely depends on the nature of the illness. I got a nasty case of hand, foot and mouth (cheers dd) and had to have almost two weeks off work because of painful hands and infection risk. I still managed to drive dd to nursery (she was fine after a few days) but my mum went into the nursery and do bits of shopping (with gloves on).

Jingle, I would have complained so much about that my employer wouldn't have known what had hit them. The cheek of your colleague!

user1485342611 Thu 26-Jan-17 11:37:09

If someone had flu or a bad chest infection and was out and about, meeting someone for coffee etc on the first few days I would assume they were faking or exaggerating. (Although certainly wouldn't go around complaining to the boss, taking pictures, demanding that their manager show their cert around).

But towards the end of the week I would think it perfectly normal for someone now recovering from an illness to be capable of going out for easy activities for a few hours a day, be they social or otherwise.

MrsBellefleur Thu 26-Jan-17 11:37:17

I also think it depends what you're off with. I had an operation and was signed off for two months. I went out shopping etc as part of the healing process was to be as active as I could manage and I had a sit down desk job which was counter productive.

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