ANY Australian who has endured a London winter knows that as the days get shorter and the temperature drops, the likelihood of getting sick goes through the roof (at the time of writing I have left my supporting statistics in my other pair of pants so just take my word for it). The flu isn’t specific to London or the UK for that matter, it affects people (not forgetting birds and pigs) the world over. But for some reason the flu takes to London winter like a duck to water.
In particular, working in an office in London during winter is as good as walking up and planting a kiss on the flu itself. Not only do office air conditioners seem to recycle illness like your dad does bad jokes but for some reason no one in the English capital seems prepared to take a sick day. Every day, another person trudges up the stairs hacking and coughing the whole way only to sit down and expect sympathy from those around them. Seeing you sitting there, nose running, sniffling and sneezing breeds only contempt in me. No one’s job is that important that they should risk infecting their colleagues rather than miss a day of work. The only exception to this rule may be doctors… and if watching Hugh Laurie in House has taught me anything (and it has) it’s that even doctors allow themselves sick days.
Contagious diseases such as influenza cost business’ millions of pounds every year (again, supporting statistics have gone missing at this point). And while “taking a sickie” might be thought of as an Australian tradition and certain culprits might not always be on their death bed (you know who you are), a sick day when taken for the right reasons should be viewed positively in the work place. It’s certainly better than sitting and admiring the strength of someone able to drag themselves to work despite the fact they are sitting in a pile of tissues that have accumulated during the morning. If this trend of sick people coming to work continues I’m going to start a new Australian tradition for Aussies working in the UK, the ‘everyone else is bloody sick day so I’m staying home’ day.
With all that said and done, if you are reading this, and at any stage during the impending London winter feel the slightest of sniffles, do yourself and your colleagues a favor… STAY HOME!