Should You Go to Work When You're Not 100%?

It's winter here in Jersey.  Today was a unique blend of rain and 45 degrees.  Compared to growing up in Massachusetts, today wasn't that bad.

Still, winter isn't the best when it comes to feeling your best.  

Seasonal Affective Disorder can settle in after months of dark sky and persistant cold.  If you aren't susceptable to SAD, you might still find winter to be a challenge like I do.

So here comes the million dollar question: should you go to work when you are clearly not 100%?  You could be sick, slightly blue or just off.  What should you do?

The answer may surprise you.  

While you may not feel like heading off to brave a commute and then put in a solid 9-10 hours of work, that may be exactly what you (and your organization) needs the most.  


  1. The experts at Manager Tools recommend going in to work, even if sick.  It's actually better to put in 3-4 decent hours of work than to lose that productivity completely.  Check out their podcast dedicated to the subject.  This perspective is debatable but worth a listen nonetheless.  (note: having the flu and being at work are never compatible- don't even think about it).  
  2. A better reason though for going in to work is that of normalcy.  When you are at work, you jumpstart a whole series of rituals that are important to feeling useful and making a difference.  Morning coffee, driving on certain roads, greeting your coworkers, getting into a groove- all of these make workdays hum along.  Even email can seem comforting when you're less than your best.


As this post is written, a terrible tragedy just occurred north of here at a school in Connecticut.  A lot of folks are wondering if they should go to work, return to school, and resume their lives.  There isn't one answer to this and we should never minimize the hurt that anyone feels, not ever.  I can't even imagine how the parents are feeling and I want to pray for them even more.

One day, these parents will have to return to work.  Church services will resume.  Traffic will feel familiar all over again.  Somehow, someway, at some point, work will be a nursemaid of normal and normal is good on whatever level that God brings it.  God can use work even when life hurts all over.

So should you go to work when you aren't 100%?  The answer is a solid yes.  The details though, those may need a touch of Divine Providence to be realized.  

Question: when was the last time that work was comforting to the rest of your life?

Photo courtesy of GS.