I cannot take over-the-counter pharmaceuticals for common ailments like a cold or a headache and instead must opt for slower, natural remedies.

Partly I think due to stress, I have been increasingly ill in the past few months, and recently, twice in two consecutive weeks.

As I am generally among the top performers and have a good relationship with my boss, they have allowed me to stay home frequently or even work from home, but I am not sure how much and for how long they are willing to appease this - especially as there have also been a few times where my presence was critical for the business (meetings, my knowledge at a very specific time, etc.)

I do feel that I am left behind a bit sometimes, and I fear it may sometimes slow down my performance (some human error found recently).

What can I do to ensure that no matter how frequently I get ill and need to stay home, I still have a good place in the eyes of my boss (and consequently in my career / reviews / job security)?

  • 1
    Have you seen a doctor about getting ill so much or provided doctors notes for any of your absences?
    – Alpar
    Oct 17, 2014 at 9:28
  • 3
    Is the fact that you can't pharmaceutical remedies related to a medical disorder that is officially diagnosed? If so then, dependent upon the country you work in then reasonable adjustments in terms of your absences may be required under equality legislation.
    – Clair
    Oct 17, 2014 at 11:10

2 Answers 2


What can I do to ensure that no matter how frequently I get ill and need to stay home, I still have a good place in the eyes of my boss (and consequently in my career / reviews / job security)?

You can't.

Every position has a point at which the frequency of illnesses is too much for the company to tolerate. But every company draws that line differently.

Some positions require attendance. Service jobs often depend on the employee being physically present. Excessive absences are critical in that scenario.

Other positions don't require constant attendance. Working remotely, working from home, etc - are often viable substitutes in that scenario. But even there, the frequency tolerance varies.

In my company, we have knowledge workers who work from home pretty much full time. They come into the office once a month or so, but otherwise could work from home every day. A cold (or other illness which doesn't shut you down completely) wouldn't impact them at all.

The best you can do is be the best worker you can whenever you are in the office, and find some way to still get the work done when you are out. Sometimes, that means simply working normal hours from home and being effective in your dealings and meetings with others while you are remote. Other times, that means working alternate hours/days when you go through an illness period where you cannot work.

Talk to your boss about it. Learn how you can be effective in your work in spite of your condition. Be considerate of the company's needs if they accommodate yours. Learn when your attendance is critical and when it is not. When it is critical, try as hard as you can to fight through the illness and be present.


Check out adrenal fatigue and thyroid deficiency, most common reasons for your symptoms. You will need a good doc to diagnose that, most of them are trained old-school and will order wrong tests or misinterpret the results.

Considering your question, be reachable for the people you interact with. Offer to come to the office anytime needed, use video chat if that is not possible. As long as they get their problems resolved and you get your hours and work done, it should be okay with your boss.

  • 2
    Legal advice is certainly frowned on on this site, I'd bet medical diagnosis even more so, and otherwise doesn't really answer the question, so -1 from me I'm afraid Oct 17, 2014 at 14:07

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