How to tell your colleague to stay at home when sick?

How to tell your colleague to stay at home when sick?

Dear Yogesh,

As you know that the coronavirus threat has mounted and as a responsible person, we all need to adhere to strict precautions. I understand that changing habits can be difficult, but most people have become ignorant to the situation. Need your help on approaching my people and tell them to seek work from home option in case of illness or symptoms of viral, flu, or that similar to COVID19. Also please help me on how can I help him with necessary do’s and don’t without offending him?

Seeking your valuable advise.

Yours sincerely



Fighting the Virus

Dear Samarth,

I understand your concern and agree to you that together only we can fight the pandemic COVID19. On the other hand, we can also look at the situation as an opportunity to help people change their habits and do what they don’t feel like doing.

While encountering a pandemic situation like this, people often react basis the understanding of the consequences and their beliefs. At the end, their motivation is founded on the assumptions they make.

Here, you can help others by helping them see both the consequences. For instance, during sickness if they choose to stay at home then there can be both, the positive and negative consequences. On one hand, they can relax, take good care of them and work from home in case they’re allowed to and can manage working from home. On the other side, if they’re too short of leaves, they might have to bear the loss of pay. Also, people in senior positions cannot afford to miss important meetings and staying back for a long time makes it difficult for them to catch up the work when they resume work.

This is where discussing the possibilities of managing work while not coming to office can help you set mutual expectation of not attending office while sickness. Setting expectations clearly is the first step to increase performance as a team. While we make agreements, we agree on everyone’s roles and responsibilities and the reasons behind it. We discuss the positives and the negatives; we see it from everyone’s perspective and make decisions that are mutual.

Also, sharing stories of how this virus has spread and has been spreading across the nation can help people understand the seriousness of the situation and ignite accountability in them.

While discussing every aspect, you’d also need to discuss about the ‘what if’ situation. What if a colleague still turns up sick? You’d have all the right to hold that person accountable irrespective of the position he or she holds. Just make sure that the conversation is established on the basis of mutual agreement you people made as a team, so that you can ensure security while holding the conversation. Holding people accountable may seem the job of a boss alone, but actually it’s everyone’s responsibility. The biggest difference between good and best teams is how nicely they clear up expectations and sort our confusions in an elegant, dignified manner, that is a skill we teach on our Crucial Conversations® training.

People in these teams do not let problems worsen and they do not let problems hamper their relationships. They discuss these around a table and reach a solution.

Best wishes,

Yogesh Sood,

PS- This blog is inspired by the thoughts of Al Switzler which he shared on 2nd Feb 2020.

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Yogesh is the founder and CMD of BYLD Group. BYLD is the largest group in the South Asian region, offering value-added services in HR, Leadership /Organizational Development, Business Operations, Manpower Staffing, Technology, and Executive Coaching. He leads the board of Indian operations of Blanchard Research and Training, Door Training and Consulting, VitalSmarts (LCPL), YOMA group and Aspectum Consulting, Finland. These organisations have expertise in complete organisational development and performance enhancement solutions, including Consulting/Training/Coaching. Yogesh is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and College of Executive Coaching USA. He founded the first ICF (International Coach Federation) chapter in South Asia in 2015.



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