How to Get Through the Common Cold in the Workplace? - 10 Useful Tips

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It's the most annoying thing, no matter how hard you try to avoid a common cold at some point you will get one. It's a niggling, annoying and downright frustrating thing that us humans and other animals suffer from and there is truly not a lot you can do about it.

Wikipedia defines a common cold as:

"The common cold (also known as nasopharyngitis, rhinopharyngitis, acute coryza, head cold, or simply a cold) is a viralinfectious disease of the upper respiratory tract which primarily affects the nose." It all sounds very medical and to be honest not of much use and makes a cold sound a great deal more serious than it is.

To the vast majority of us the common cold should be defined as "The Common Cold (Also known as Man Flu, Green Stuff in nose and lungs or I wish this nonsense would go now)" A cold slows a man down, makes him ache a little, sneeze a bit and cough up lumps of green stuff that are supposed to be part of our immune system.

I am sat today, coughing up lumps of green stuff and wondering if it is my immune systems self-defence mechanism that is actually making me cough more or if is the cold making me cough? Either way the challenge is to get on with life, fight through the green wall, put up with the coughs and sneezes and focus on better health and the task you have at hand.

The common cold in the workplace is spread like wildfire, I don't know how many emails I have seen to inform me that "John won't be in today he is feeling unwell" and those emails in a way are welcome as it means John won't be able to share his germs as the chances he is off with merely a common cold are pretty good. But the cold does spread so this becomes step one of my tips to work through and work with the common cold.

10 tips on how to work with and work through the common cold:

1. Stay away from others. The common cold is contagious. If your employer truly cares he will let you stay at home.

2. It's a just a cold not something that see's you on your deathbed so work from home, work a little slower but WORK from home - the worrying about not getting your work done will make your cold worse as this is negative thinking (also see point 6)

3. Stay positive don't let the cold get your thinking down - positivity and happiness are the best medicine known to mankind. If happiness and a positive outlook can cure cancer it surely can beat a cold!

4. Eat and drink - good nutrition is key to firstly preventing a cold and secondly in chasing it away

5. Don't read too much into over the counter "cures", the common cold has no known cure, the best by far is a simple paracetamol and water to remove the aches and pains - congestion causes headaches and the medication won't make you drowsy

6. Rest - by all means try and work but the best sure is sleep, let your body slow down and recover. Working from home takes some of the pressure off your work commitments but getting sleep is something you must do. Find the balance

7. Stay connected. If you are missing meetings have someone copy you on the outcome of the meetings, internally have a structure in place so that you remain in the loop. This is easy for you to implement, don't be shy to ask someone to take notes in a meeting you must attend.

8. Have your customers informed you are not available - get the message in early in the day and have someone contact all your clients whom you have to deal with in the day inform them that you are working from home and want to reschedule. This again takes away worry and keeps you more positive thus speeding up your recovery.

9. Don't be afraid to take an extra day. Rest is by far the best cure for a cold. An extra day will mean you can work almost fully from home, you can work a little slower and grab forty winks when you feel you need to. This will firstly prevent you sharing your germs and secondly give you a great deal more strength when you go back to work.

10. Your health is number 1. Everyone gets a little sick, don't try and be brave and go to work with a cold, you will not be doing yourself or anyone else any favours!

The points I make are a little selfish I know, but to gain success and achieve your goals you need to be a little selfish. The only person who can make your success happen is you, without your health you can't hope to achieve it. A day off or a day of rest is an investment in your health that will yield results down the road.

So, employers slap me and tell me I am wrong for telling your staff to take time off when unwell, even if it is just a cold. Put processes in place to address this, many companies do not have these processes, planning for these days where a key staff member is down will give you an advantage over your completion. 

Things will be able to run more smoothly with less disruption, your staff will have respect and, here is the rub, because your staff feels more confident they will be allowed to take time off when sick, psychologically they will feel more confident and happier and this is known to reduce the chances of falling unwell. Don't ask how or why, but happiness, positivity and confidence are great at reducing sick days, the key many say is in reduced stress.Matthew W J Newnham
 

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