Sicknesses such as colds, the flu, and now COVID-19 seem to spread like wildfire through call centers and other work spaces where employees must work within close proximity to one another. The last thing you need is to get sick and take it home to your family. What can you do when a colleague comes to work feeling under the weather? Here are tips for dealing with an ill coworker and how to reduce your risk of contracting the illness.
Politely distance yourself from a sick coworker and refrain from using any common areas that the coworker may have used. For instance, steer clear of the breakroom or lounge if possible and decline lunch offers. You may even consider using a different bathroom or even taking a different route in and out of the office if possible.
Disinfect Your Workspace
Routinely cleaning your work area and practicing good hygiene is recommended even if no one in your office is sick. When a coworker is ill, increase the frequency that you disinfect your workspace. Wipe down your computer, desk, chair, phone, etc. Make sure to wash your hands often and keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy. This not only helps you avoid getting sick but prevents the spread of germs to others in your office.
Disinfect Common Areas
Disinfecting common areas such as door handles, copiers, printers, fax machines, refrigerators, coffee makers, etc. will reduce the likelihood of the germs spreading through the office.
Alternate Work Area
If you have the option, you may consider working from a different area of the call center. This will help minimize your chances of coming in contact with the germs shed by the sick coworker.
Suggest the Coworker Take a Sick Day
If you feel comfortable, tactfully suggest or hint that the sick colleague takes the remainder of the day off to rest. You may even offer to tackle some of the workloads so he or she doesn’t feel overwhelmed.
Talk with Your Manager
If the coworker doesn’t take the hint or refuses to leave, you may consider speaking with your manager about the concerns for your health as well as everyone else in the call center. Your supervisor can politely remind everyone of the call center’s sick policy and talk with the sick employee if need be.
Find Your Ideal Job
Worrying about catching an easily transmitted illness such as the cold or flu should not be a common occurrence in the workplace. Coworkers should do their part by staying home when feeling ill and supervisors should take steps to enforce the sick policy as well as properly disinfecting the office.
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