Plenty of us have had to make the uncomfortable decision of whether or not to go to work sick. Thanks to unforgiving sick leave policies and company cultures that encourage you to "push through" illness, taking a legit sick day feels rarer and rarer. While not everyone has the privilege to choose to work from home — especially for people who work on shifts, in service or retail, or other industries where flex time is harder to come by — learning how germs move through your workspace can make it easier to make the case for staying at home, if you're able. And, if you *do* have to come in for that meeting, there are many steps that you can take to make sure other people in your work environment don't catch your bug.
The unfortunate truth is that in the United States, sick leave isn't a given — and can in fact be very hard to come by. According to Quartz, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows over 30 percent of private sector employees in the United States have no paid sick leave at all, and they mostly occupy the lowest-earning jobs. Freelancers and contractors also have difficulty obtaining paid sick leave. If remote working isn't an option, you may just need to go to work sick. Need to head into the office even when you're sneezing? Here's how to avoid getting your deskmates sick.