Coughs and Colds

I write this sitting in the office during my lunch break, unusually the sun is shining outside and the office is pretty much empty. The pic below shoes what I see in the evenings out of the window, It’s something I still can’t quite get used to.

Things have died down, though annoyingly I am still busy with lots of things going on. Over the last few months the atmosphere at my work has changed, the CEO has announced a pay freeze (on everyones pay except his, some thing never change!) and I am certain that more people will lose their jobs next year (despite what the business says to the contrary).

I guess you have to be positive, so in a perverted way, it gives an ideal opportunity for business to offload the dead wood, those that come to work do very little (apart from watch BBC sport online) and blame the job cuts it on the economy.


It’s that time of the year when people start to get colds and coughs and the perennial ‘flu bug’ goes round. What I’ve noticed over the last few weeks is that there is this mentality (certainly where I work anyway) where people will come to work anyway if they are not feeling well, in the hope that it will go away and they will grin and bear it.

You can’t question the work-ethic of such thinking, but for me it’s very short-sited, selfish and ultimately stupid.

I am very lucky in that I seldom get Ill, but I can’t help feeling annoyed by people that come to work with horrible coughs and colds exposing their germs and bacteria to everyone they get near to. It is selfish and stupid. So of course, those that are not sick soon become Ill and the cycle continues to the point where, last week, so many people were actually off work sick, normal operation of the business suffered.

So many people here can choose to work from home if they are not feeling great, but still feel up to working-they don’t even have to come into the office – So why is is that so many people come to work sick or coughing their guts up and spreading their diseases, when they should be at home?

Mis education

People think it will go away (which to be fair, it will do eventually) they can grin and bear it. Macho attitude – weak to admit you are sick.!

Don’t understand/don’t care just how easy it is for you to pass a cold on to another person (i.e handshake)

Attitude and social values –

Some people think its bad to be Ill and will pretend they are ok. Don’t know why this is, may be a certain stigma is attached to people who can’t work, on benefits etc…

Importance –

Some will go to work as there is something they must attend/do.

Even if they are suffering from the plague they must attend.

It’s interesting contrasting this with China.  Despite it being generally dirtier in Chinese cities and less hygienic for sure, many in the west would think the Chinese are hypochondriacs and overreact to illnesses.

There are some nasty bugs in China that you don’t get in the UK, but the obvious reason for this kind of hypochondria (beyond the fact that nobody really wants to be sick) is lack of employment rights (i.e no sick pay/statutory benefits are almost non existent) and health care costing money.

You get sick, you pay.

I don’t get it, it’s one of the (very few) advantages of the social system that exists in the UK whereby you are legally entitled to not have to go into work if you are unwell. You even GET PAID (unless you work for yourself), If you get really Ill, you continue to get paid in some cases for 6 months or more. You even get free health care, ok you have to pay for a prescription, but access to see a doctor does not cost you a penny!


I also think there is a way of doing things that has grown out of personal car ownership whereby people seldom wear warm clothes that were once worn in the UK; thermals, long coats, thick jumpers are a thing of the past. People get out of their warm cars and don’t spend long amounts of time outside like they used to – I think this is a contributor to sickness and Illness as it makes people more susceptible to illness, but I’m not doctor this is just a thought…


Maybe I am cynical in my attitude, but I think that I am almost entitled to my days off work from sickness. If I feel unwell, I wont go to work. In the UK don’t feel I have to justify this to anybody, after all I pay more than my fair share of taxation that supports this very social system :soldier: !!!  I’m not talking about abusing the system i.e. being ‘sick’ and claiming benefits from the government, rather than working. It’s more a case of making the most of what you pay for and not spreading your illness to others in the office.

In China when I was sick I would not get paid or would have to make up the hours missed. However, I paid very little tax, so when I was Ill I knew that I would have to pay from my own pocket. This is a harsher system and detrimentally affects those that are more susceptible to illness like the Old and the very young , but from a purely selfish perspective it’s better for me in my current situation!