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You don’t need to be housebound if you’re off sick from work

194 replies

TeaAndBrie · 06/10/2022 12:49

I’ve been off work for 3 days with a bad cold (not covid). I’m used to being on the go and spend more time out of the house than in. The last two days have been spent in bed, today I’m feeling a little brighter but get tired and dizzy quickly so not well enough to go back to work. My concentration level is terrible and at work I need to make important decisions and have staff depending on me.
it’s a beautiful sunny day outside and I was considering going out for a walk and maybe get a coffee from a kiosk (not sit in Costa or anything). My DH was mortified and said if I’m ill I shouldn’t leave the house and if i can then I’m well enough to go to work.
interested to know what people think?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

829 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
fairycakesandtea7 · 06/10/2022 13:27

Badger1970 · 06/10/2022 12:51

If you can go for a walk and sit in a coffee shop, you're well enough to be at work.

I had months off work for major surgery, including months of learning to walk again. My job involves being on my feet for most of my day. I went out for short trips to see friends/get coffee when I was able to walk a bit more but was in no fit state for work. It depends on what your job is and the illness you have.

B1pbop · 06/10/2022 13:28

I agree with you OP, I think a gentle walk and sunshine is absolutely beneficial when you’re ill and is very different to concentrating at work for a whole day.

The only thing I’d be cautious about is infecting others if it can be avoided. But also, as a lone parent with no one to pop out for groceries for my child and I when I’m sick, I have no qualms about going into shops when I’m (rarely) ill.

Runningintolife · 06/10/2022 13:29

Its about standards and perception. If long term its a different kettle of fish.

Georgeskitchen · 06/10/2022 13:35

Take no notice of the naysayers. A walk in the fresh air will be good for you. It's getting to the time of year where bugs start doing the rounds.
If some people object to this they need to stay indoors october-april

Notplayingball · 06/10/2022 13:36

This reply has been deleted

This has been deleted by MNHQ for breaking our Talk Guidelines.

Folk can be off work with mental health issues, not just physical complaints! Getting outdoors is encouraged to help with mental illness recovery.

Catfordthefifth · 06/10/2022 13:39

This reply has been deleted

This has been deleted by MNHQ for breaking our Talk Guidelines.

With that attitude I don't think anyone would want to work for you.

GreyBlossom · 06/10/2022 13:40

I'd see doing for a short walk on a nice day, after a few days of being housebound sensible self care to aid your recovery.

I'd probably expect you back to work tomorrow, but at the tail end of an illness that seen you laid low for a few days I think it's fine/good.

I probably wouldn't have when I was younger and saw things more back and white, but I have learned to take a more flexible view with age .

Eeksteek · 06/10/2022 13:43

Of course you shouldn’t. The mental and physical demands of a short walk and a coffee are wildly and demonstrably different from a day at work. One person’s work may be different from another, so people with the same issue may or may not be able to work at different jobs. Or even the same job, as everyone is affected by illness differently.

Funkyslippers · 06/10/2022 13:44

I would do it. After staying in with an illness sometimes a walk and a takeaway coffee is just the tonic

Whichwhatnow · 06/10/2022 13:44

Like @BiasedBinding I'm interested to know what jobs some of the other posters have. You just cannot make a blanket statement that 'if you're well enough to go for a walk, you're well enough to work'.

I think some people are forgetting that being 'off sick' isn't solely about the physical effects of illness. When I last came down with a nasty virus I barely slept for three nights running, my head was fuzzy and I could barely even concentrate enough to read FaceBook etc. By day four I no longer had the symptoms of the actual bug (headache, coughing, stomach pains) but there was no way I was in any fit state to go and try to draft or negotiate a multimillion pound contract! A gentle stroll in the sun however would have been lovely. Part of having a job with high levels of responsibility (which it sounds like OP has) is surely being able to recognise when, for whatever reason, you are just not capable of doing that job to the necessary levels of competency?

Hope you're already out getting your coffee OP!

Shiningstarr · 06/10/2022 13:44

The people saying if she's well enough to do that, she's well enough to go to work need their heads wobbling.

She might well feel well enough to have a short walk and grab a take away coffee, but she then may feel really fatigued for the rest of the day.

Also it really does depend of the job. I work 12.5 hour shifts. Going for a short walk and getting a take away coffee does in no way compare to a day at work for me.

altmember · 06/10/2022 13:45

It depends if your primary reason for being off work is because you're too ill to perform the job, or if you can't work without being in close proximity to others and trying to avoid infecting your colleagues with it. In most jobs, the latter probably wouldn't be considered a strong enough reason, but maybe some employers see things differently since covid?

quitelikelyto · 06/10/2022 13:46

Badger1970 · 06/10/2022 12:51

If you can go for a walk and sit in a coffee shop, you're well enough to be at work.

Going for a walk and getting a coffee might take 15 -20 mins. That's not very representative of a day at work. Fresh air and gentle movement can help your recovery

Appleblum · 06/10/2022 13:47

If you're sick enough to be off work, please stay home to avoid infecting others.

Tiredalwaystired · 06/10/2022 13:50

Depends what’s wrong. I have a slipped disc and acute sciatica. I have worked every day with it for seven months. This week it just reached a point of no return - I can’t focus and I can’t sit still for more than ten mins. I spent this morning crying at my desk before my colleagues made me see sense and I went home.

I am now in bed but I know this isnt actually helpful. I generally feel better after walking a bit (although not today - I can’t even do that) so if it takes a couple of days I will hopefully be out and about a bit. I’ve realised I’m not well enough to work at the moment though. I do feel very guilty though.

GreyBlossom · 06/10/2022 13:51

My boss would be fine with this and I'd be fine with my staff doing it. It seems a sensible way to ease yourself back to me.

I'd be wary of doing it because of the reactions of colleagues being like some here though. It doesn't "matter" in that boss wouldn't care, but having my staff think I'm shirking isn't helpful.

bruffin · 06/10/2022 13:52

Badger1970 · 06/10/2022 12:51

If you can go for a walk and sit in a coffee shop, you're well enough to be at work.

No necessarily

I have that bad cold (negative for covid) went for a long walk to clear my head a bit, came back and felt knackered and light headed but i wasnt well enough to go into work.

DahliasLove · 06/10/2022 13:54

RosieLemonadeAndSugar · 06/10/2022 13:20

I was 17 and worked in a clothing shop on a weekend. One weekend I called in sick - genuinely was ill on the Saturday and not feeling up to stand on my feet for 8 hours on the Sunday so I called in sick again.

I was 'spotted' outside another shop I had popped into to get some essentials and wasn't believed that I genuinely wasn't ill. I had a right telling off about it on my next shift and a sarcastic comment about not being seen 'doing my shopping' ... i'd literally just popped out for essentials!

Something very similar happened to me when I was around that age. I quit on the spot.

and OP, of course you can get some fresh air, it will be good for you and actually a good test to check you are fit to go back to work.

Some of these replies though, wtf.

Cw112 · 06/10/2022 13:56

I think it depends on the type of illness tbh. For something like a bad cold or flu I wouldn't be leaving the house and resting as much as I can as that would be looked at as if you're well enough to do that you're well enough to go to work. I think the caveat is things like a broken arm or leg- you maybe can't be in your workplace safely but it's unreasonable to be expected to sit at home or if you were off with stress or burnout being social, going walking etc are really positive steps to get back to feeling better so that would be fine. But not for a bad cold no... plus do you really want to spread it to others?

KimberleyClark · 06/10/2022 13:56

35965a · 06/10/2022 12:53

It depends what you’re off with. For a cold I would say if you’re well enough for a walk you’re probably well enough to be in work (for most jobs)

This. If you’re off with stress/anxiety/depression it would probably do you good to get out of the house.

fatgirlslimmer · 06/10/2022 13:57

2 days in bed with cold?

Of course you should go for a walk, it’s hardly comparable to a days work and might perk you up.

Cheeselog · 06/10/2022 13:57

Why is your DH embarrassed by what you said? Confused

In general I would say no, you don’t need to stay home if going out will help. But I think YABU here as the point of staying off sick for a cold is to rest.


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Ponoka7 · 06/10/2022 13:57

I wish posters would answer what their jobs are. I'd love to get paid for doing something full time that is the equivalent of a stroll and take out coffee.

LindyLou2020 · 06/10/2022 13:58

Catfordthefifth · 06/10/2022 13:39

With that attitude I don't think anyone would want to work for you.

@Catfordthefifth .........You beat me to it!
My very first thought was that thank God I don't work for @TheStoop ! 🙏

RandomUsernameHere · 06/10/2022 14:00

I'd go, unless you're likely to be seen by anyone from work, in which case don't risk it

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