Forcing yourself to work does wonders for productivity. Or not.

Everyone's sick at the moment. This leads to days off work which leads to lower productivity. Which isn't good. Thankfully there's a logical solution: Don't take sick days.

Two years ago my four closest workmates and I made a pact. No unscheduled time off. It's worked a treat. We haven't lost a single day through illness since.

That's not to say we haven't been sick. We often come to work harbouring horrible lurgies. Coughing, sneezing, shaking, crying, dribbling and running off to the toilet every 15 minutes. My co-host Jeremy coughed up blood one morning but kept going. It's all about being there for your team.

Of course being there for your team tends to contaminate your team. Our radio studio is currently a petri dish of disease. We're running several distinct viruses, a case of conjunctivitis and nits.


Sometimes I think we spend more time sick because we never take sick days. Either way I won't be staying home. I'd rather die on the floor of my work than be the first to wimp out.

We don't even allow emotional days. My mother died last year and I still came in to work at 5am the next morning. It took six beers and a dusty old bottle of Jack Daniels I found in the cupboard to get me there but I made it. I slurred, spluttered and whimpered my way through the show but I was there for my co-workers. Not that they wanted me there. I was in no state to be on air.

I'm surprised the Broadcasting Standards Authority didn't get involved. At one point my co-workers forcibly removed me from the studio for my own good. I had to sneak back in.

The key word is team.

There are, however, downsides to the plan. Taking no sick days tends to cause trouble come holidays. Last week I had my scheduled week off. I spent the first morning wrapped round the toilet vomiting, the rest of the week horizontal.

My partner claims I spend every holiday violently ill. She runs an unscientific theory that my body holds itself together all year then collapses when it knows it's allowed to. Leaving her to clean up the pieces. While I do admit I am sick every holiday, I put it down to coincidence.

Four days into last week's holiday the whole family was vomiting. Lying on the floor of the lounge moaning like bubonic plague victims. It's hard to deliver quality parenting when you and the Mrs can't even stand up.

Three times a day we would muster the strength to pick up a phone and order in meals, almost certainly contaminating the delivery person. If you live in central Auckland, have had pizza or Thai delivered in the past 10 days and are currently lying on the floor in your own filth, you probably got it from me.


Sometime during these cold winter months you will get sick. When it happens you owe it to yourself and your team to go to work. Soldier on. Limp and wheeze your way in. It's not easy. You will contaminate people. You may well spend your holidays face down on the floor eating pizza watching every single Futurama episode ever made.

But your perceived productivity will be through the roof and at the end of the year you can claim Unbreakable-like super-hero status. You can tell your friends - I don't take sick days.