DEAR HARRIETTE: I work in an office with an open format. Mostly we work in cubicles. Recently, this has presented a problem. One of my co-workers was really sick, but he came to work anyway. I get that; we have a lot of work to do, and he didn’t want to be a slacker. The problem is that he was coughing and sneezing and blowing his nose all day for about a week. What happened next? You guessed it! Several of us got sick. So now there’s even more coughing and sneezing in the office. I’m mad. I want to work in a healthy environment. Is there anything that we can do to encourage employees to stay home if they are ill? -- Contaminated Workspace, Atlanta
DEAR CONTAMINATED WORKSPACE: Bring your co-worker’s illness and subsequent spreading of germs to your boss’s attention. Point out that you know everyone wants to do a great job, which includes coming to work no matter what. In this instance, it has backfired on the office because multiple employees are under the weather. Ask your boss to make and enforce a policy about what employees should do when they are sick. If you can show that productivity has gone down because so many people are ill, you may get your boss to notice and take action.
To be proactive, you may want to keep a face mask at your desk. If others start coughing or demonstrating what could be contagious symptoms, put the mask on to protect yourself.