Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Coming to work sick

February 10, 2009
Now that smokers are mostly banished to the outdoors, thereâ??s a new work place pariah â?? those who show up coughing, sneezing and otherwise obviously sick.

In the not-so-recent past, failing to make it to work while under the weather could be interpreted as a lack of work ethic. Or, particularly in small organizations, lack of team spirit.

But at least three factors are changing the social contract, says Karl Ahlrichs, a veteran human resources executive who recently founded ExactHire, a business system that aims to produce a high-performing worker culture.

Companies took a more active role in managing worker health, with one upshot being workersâ?? resenting others who could infect them. Also, the bird flu scare produced conferences and workshops emphasizing cleanliness. And the proliferation of high-speed Internet access allowed more people to telecommute when they didnâ??t feel well.

As a result, showing up sick is now considered bad judgment.

â??Itâ??s seen as not caring. Itâ??s seen as not being a considerate person,â?? Ahlrichs said. â??You donâ??t make other people sick.â??

What do you think?
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