Most of us have done it ... woken up with a bit of a sniffle and written it off as ''something in the air'' only to find ourselves foggy and flustered, trying to stifle sneezes at work all day.
Coming to work while sick is a symptom of a disease that is gradually being excised from New Zealand's working culture - the idolisation of "soldiering on".
In 2022, coughing and spluttering away in the office, worksite, tearoom or really anywhere outside your own home should be a thing of the past.
It took a pandemic to knock it on the head, but we can chalk it up as one of the few upsides.
A new bar has been set, a common expectation people should be able to work in a sickness-free environment.
Naturally, however, there are those who have seen this good social change as a new opportunity to play hooky.
As reported on Thursday, businesses are concerned workers are using Covid-19 as an excuse to skip work and enjoy time off.
"They get a sneeze and they are off," one boss reported.
Businesses are within their rights to ask for proof an employee has Covid, but let's face it: There is a multitude of ways to obtain this without even having to swab a nostril.
Images of positive rapid antigen tests (RATs) abound on Google, but these would come up in a reverse image search, so it's more likely our con would simply borrow a friend's. Its even been reported that positive RATs can be faked with lemon juice.
Businesses do not have the resources to investigate each suspected fake sickie, so it's a high-trust system.
Employers can apply for government grants to help cover the cost of Covid leave - up to $600 for a full-time worker.
As of May 1, the Ministry for Social Development had paid out $237.5 million under the Covid Leave Support Scheme.
That means those gaming that system are hitting all of us in the pocket - if they also found themselves in breach of their employment contract, that would be poetic justice.
But more concerning is the damage to the newly strengthened social contract in workplaces that we stay home when we're sick.
We do it for ourselves and our colleagues, who we do not want to expose to whatever we have.
Some can work from home when only mildly unwell - but the pernicious flip side is that those inclined to soldier on may elect to work when they should rest and recover.
In a good workplace, people should be able to take necessary sick leave without feeling guilty or that it will be viewed as slacking off or letting down the team. A good workplace will be staffed appropriately to support this.
When people skive off work when they are not sick, they not only leave their co-workers in the lurch, they damage that hard-won trust and the social contract by casting suspicion on themselves and others.
It becomes too tempting for good workers to come to the office while sick just to avoid any hint of impropriety and to demonstrate loyalty to the team - and it becomes too tempting for bosses to consider this the norm once again.
The social contract evaporates, and work becomes that little bit worse for all.