A friend of mine, who also works from home, recently caught the winter crud. She had a full day of work to do and was torn about staying in bed versus working on her to-do list.
Her body ached and her head was fuzzy from cold medicine.
She didn’t think she had a good excuse to take a sick day since she wasn’t at an office breathing on anyone.
Does this happen to you too? Do you try to reason with yourself that you should keep working when you are sick because you work from home?
From one work at home woman to another please stop doing this! YOU are your business.
Your business needs you to get back to 100% as soon as possible.
Not to mention, when you are finally better, you are probably going to spend extra time checking and redoing the work you did while you were medicated.
What to do when you are Sick but Work from Home
1. Turn on Your Out of Office Reply.
The first thing you should do when you work from home and are feeling sick is to turn your out of office email reply on.
Simply say “I’m away from my desk today with limited access to email and may be delayed in responding.”
Give your brain a break from feeling like you need to be on top of every incoming email.
I’d also encourage you to turn on a similar auto-reply for texts or use one of the defaults. You could even use the “I’m driving right now” auto-reply.
Use technology and automation to help you feel better.
2. Get Back in Your Bed
I know spending the day in bed is really hard to do. You have a long list of things that you need to get done for work and around your house, right?
But the longer you have the crud or have a fuzzy head from cold and flu meds the less productive you actually are going to be.
If you can’t bring yourself to totally stop doing, turn your phone on silent and listen to a podcast or Audible in bed with your eyes closed.
Give your body the rest it needs to fight the germs.
After a little while you might even fall are asleep!
If you aren’t sure what you want to listen to head over to my list of great podcasts and pick one from there.
3. Schedule a Grocery Delivery
Whether you use Shipt, Instacart or Walmart Delivery now is the time to do a grocery delivery order.
Choose chicken soup, crackers, OJ and whatever else you eat or drink when you aren’t feeling well.
And don’t forget the tissues, cough drops and a prepared or frozen dinner for your family!
Then take that nap.
With Shipt, everything you need will be waiting for you at the front door when you wake up. They even deliver from Target!
If you don’t have a grocery delivery service yet give Shipt a try – its the one my family and I use and love.
4. Drink Tea instead of Coffee
Today is one of those days to go easy on the caffeine. Simmer some water on the stove and make yourself a soothing cup of tea.
Staying hydrated is important when you are sick.
Sip your tea slowly and while you let your mind and body rest. And if you have a sore throat don’t forget to add some honey!
5. Mom’s Penicillin
To this day my mom insists that the secret to getting better faster is a pot of chicken soup simmering on the stove (or in the instant pot.)
In your crud induced haze, you might think I’m crazy to recommend you go to the grocery store and start cooking.
I am not recommending that at all.
What I am recommending is that you have your grocery delivery person bring you a whole cut up chicken, a package of pre-cut onions, carrots and celery (fresh or frozen) and Better than Bullion Chicken base.
Dump everything in your Instant Pot with water and set the slow cooker function to low. Simmer for a couple of hours until the chicken is cooked.
If you can manage a few extra minutes standing in the kitchen, let the veggies cook on the saute function first. But if not that’s okay too, they will cook down in the broth.
When the chicken if cooked through, boil some noodles or make some rice and you and your family’s dinner is ready.
(Don’t have an instant pot yet? I have one similar to this Instant Pot)
If you haven’t signed up for a grocery delivery service yet what are you waiting for?
In case you missed it above, I use and love Shipt. With this code rvjM8 you can get $50.00 off your first year.
6. Go to the Doctor
If you feel worse than the regular crud go to the Doctor or your Minute Clinic.
You are paying your hard earned money for health insurance. Please use it!
Since your email has the out of office reply turned on (and hopefully your phone too) your work will be okay if you take a little time our of your day to see a doctor. Make sure you get any prescriptions filled too if prescribed.
If you don’t have health insurance check out this article I wrote about how to find health insurance when you are self-employed.
7. Prevent Getting Sick when you Work at Home
I know you are feeling crappy and down and you probably don’t want to hear about how to not get sick in the future. But these tips are important too.
Keep Germs away. No matter how old you are my pediatrician’s advice applies. Wipe down the handles on the shopping carts at the grocery store and Target.
When my daughter was born my pediatrician was pretty laid back about her expectations of us as new parents. The exception was that she insisted we promised to not let any part of our baby touch a shopping cart.
Sanitize the grocery cart or better yet stop spending your time INSIDE Target or the Grocery Store. This is another good reason why you should try Target Drive-Up or a grocery delivery service like Shipt.
If you are looking for a few more tips on how to reduce the chance of getting sick in the future, my friend Chrissie at Joy Through Chaos has a great article Keep Your Family Healthy This Winter that is applicable year-round.
And if you just haven’t been taking care of yourself we need to talk about a few things.
Annual Check Up, Mammogram and Skin Cancer screenings are important. We are getting older everyday and as a work from home woman you have the freedom and flexibility to create a schedule that lets you go to your annual checkups.
Schedule them today while you are laying in your bed with your out of office reply on.
When you are sick and work at home it’s just as important to go back to bed as it is when you work in an office.
Your business and family need you to get better fast!
Turn on your email out of office reply, order some food and supplies using your grocery delivery service, get back in bed and stay hydrated with a cup of warm tea and chicken soup.
And most importantly if you are REALLY sick go to the doctor!
Then follow some simple steps to try to prevent the next round of germs from invading your home.
Related Posts You Might Like
How to Find Health Insurance When You Are Self-Employed
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I currently have a crazy head cold that I caught from my kids. And I do work from home. Monday was ridiculous. Especially because we throw a super bowl party and I’m pretty sure people thought I was just hungover. Nope….sick. These are good tips. I did most of these including chicken soup. I did have a video conference call that I got dressed and went ahead and tried to do but they had me hang up after 10 minutes because I looked awful. Ha!
The really nice thing about being home is that you are not away from home.But convincing people that you are actually sick is kind of funny.
Cori Henderson says
Amy, a video conference call while sick is the worst. I’m glad your colleagues insisted you rest. Take it easy this week and I hope you feel better soon!
Ah…stuff you don’t think about when you have a job with actual “sick time.” This is a super helpful reminder for when the time comes when I don’t need my 9-5 anymore! Thanks!!!
Loved reading your post because it is SO true – I really liked the grocery delivery idea, and as for turning the Out of Office to ON – total brilliance!
Thanks for all your tips.
Anna Kat Napier says
I totally needed to read this. I work from home and definitely don’t take sick days (or any other time off). I really need to put my physical and mental health on the front burner. Thanks for this great reminder!
M.A. Bell says
I work from home and had a really nasty case of the flu recently. I wish I had read this article before that!
I will remember your tips for the future. I LOVE the “Out of Office” for the email – there’s nothing worse than trying to write technical explanations when your head feels like it is in a different time zone than your body!
Because I work at home I’m never really away from the office, so I’ve not used an autoresponder before, but I certainly will from now on! I may even do it for the occasional weekend off!
Kay Plucker says
I appreciated the tip of using technology to buy us some time to really rest. I never seem to get well unless I totally unplug, pull the shades and sleep and sleep some more. I live in rural S. Dak . and our grocery delivery service is friends. People want to help. Tell them how they can!
Cori Henderson says
Kay, you make such a great point about letting friends help! I need to be better about that myself.
These are great ideas. I’ll definitely keep them in mind next time I’m sick and can’t stop working! I’m healthy right now though …. knock on wood.