Working On When You Are Not Well

You know that old joke about working solo? “I left a well-paying job in a corporation because I couldn’t stand working for this really dumb boss. But now I’ve swapped him for a %^&* maniac!”

And one of the things we as our own bosses often do is not stop and rest when we get sick. Mind you, my experience is that since the day I stopped working in air-conditioned offices, sharing everyone’s latest bug, I don’t have those bouts of flu that seemed to be a fairly regular occurrence.

Be that as it may, what should we do if we do come down with what Australians call “the dreaded lurgy” (not, to the best of my knowledge, a technical medical term, but a portmanteau word to cover colds, flu, sinusitis, URTI, etc)?

Because we can’t delegate, and we can’t offload work to the person in the next cubicle.

So we press on, knowingly risking getting worse and compounding the problem. Yes, in an ideal world, we should rest, let nature take its course, get better, then get back to work when we are ready. But in the real world we inhabit, sometimes that deadline needs to be met, those people are waiting on our response, and so on.

While I will not be surprised to get in response to this post some suggestions to get a virtual assistant, and as I feel terrifically well right now I’m not immediately in need of advice on how to handle my workload when unwell, I would commend to any solo, work at home colleague, the great set of suggestions from Shirley Frazier, who in the past couple of days has been a bit under the weather.

She observes:

Solo business owners cannot afford to become sick. Youโ€™re the chief cook and bottle washer, so if youโ€™re not at a desk or wherever you get business done, the enterprise grinds to a halt. What do you do when that happens?

Check out her post 5 Things to Do When You’re Sick and Work Alone. 

Mind you, from reading this list I suspect Shirley’s idea of slowing down is Pace=Normal for a lot of us  

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.


  1. Anonymous says:

    To become sick will happen to all of us at some stage, sooner or later, so Shirley’s tips are very useful. But I think it’s important too, to have some business planning in place.

    A real positive for small business planning in case of sickness is that these plans are also useful in the event that you want to take a break and have that well-deserved holiday.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Feeling better today, Des. I appreciate you sharing the post with readers and hope it generates new ideas to “power through the flu” if only for a few hours.

    I’m looking forward to Angela’s own article on VA assistance in sickness and in health.


  3. Anonymous says:

    I have to agree with Angela. And I agree with you Des, about being less ill in working for yourself. I used to catch every bug under the sun but since I’ve been home I can probably count the fingers on one hand the number of times I’ve been ill in over 13 years – that for me is a record.

    What does a VA do when they’re sick? For me I pass on the urgent stuff to my team of VAs (even a VA needs a VA sometimes) and the rest waits till I’m better. I lie on the couch in front of the TV with rug over me and just vegetate. I’m usually better in 24-48 hours rather than let it drag on because I kept working, even if at half pace. Some things need to be allowed to run its course.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Glad you responded to my challenge, Angela ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Anonymous says:

    You know using a VA isn’t only for when you’re sick, they can help out in so many other ways. You’ve given me an idea for a post on my own blog or maybe an article… as I realize there are still a lot of people who are not sure WHY they might want or need a VA ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

    Glad you’re feeling better! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Angela Wills