As concern over Covid-19 reaches fever pitch, health authorities are telling us the best way to slow the spread of coronavirus is to stay home if we feel even just slightly unwell.
Think open-plan offices where you and your coughing and sneezing colleagues are sitting shoulder-to-shoulder and within bug-spreading range.
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Despite those warnings, there will be those who decide to muscle through the workday no matter how severe their symptoms – and ignorant of the fact they are jeopardising the health of others.
International recruitment firm Robert Half found that around two-thirds of survey participants admitted they sometimes went to work while sick. One-third disclosed they always went to work while ill.
With experts fearing an escalation in the number of cases of those infected with Covid-19, our prevailing workplace culture that seems to encourage us to come to work unwell must change – and fast.
Otherwise we will head into the office to transform the workplace into a cesspool of bugs by opening doors with clammy hands, spraying droplets of contaminated respiratory fluid into the air when we speak, contaminating screens with drippy red eyes and operating the coffee machine with infected fingers.
In a sick sense of irony, many of us will encourage those feeling poorly to leave the office to go home to rest up. Yet we ourselves soldier on when we feel ill.
If in the past you thought coming to work sick highlighted your commitment to the cause, now is the time to ditch that perspective.
Going sick into the workplace will spread your germs like wildfire, making many others unwell and ultimately causing mass workplace illness and potentially the business to grind to a complete halt.
And infecting others is dangerous.
You might be fit as a fiddle and able to withstand a debilitating illness but not all colleagues have the same fighting power.
Some bosses are to blame for workers showing up sick in the office. They should hang their heads in shame for making team members feel uncomfortable about staying home when unwell.
To protect our business, staff, bosses and our customers need to pull out all stops.
Bosses should tell those who are unwell to go home and stay home, and lead by example. If an employee has used up their allotted sick leave, they should be offered extra sick leave without financial penalty.
For those silly enough to ignore the barrage of advice on offer from health experts and still front up to work feeling crummy, be warned – the healthy will strike back.
A selfish play for admiration is more likely to be greeted with disdain and leave you sick-shamed.
Instead of being offered paracetamol, a packet of cough drops, vitamin C supplements or a sympathetic ear, expect to be told "go home, don't spread your germs here", "if you stay here you will make everyone else sick" or "please cover your mouth when you cough".
Be prepared for a sick-shamer to shove a box of tissues your way; use hand sanitiser before engaging with you; place a face mask on your desk; discharge a full can of disinfectant spray in your direction; or insist on you being banished to a remote part of the workplace like an office outcast.
So before you front up at work coughing like your throat is filled with crushed glass, keep in mind that, regardless of whether your illness is contagious, staying at home will hasten your recovery, prevent colleagues from dropping like flies and spare you from becoming an office pariah.
• Professor Gary Martin is a workplace culture expert with the Australian Institute of Management.