Workplace Wellness 101: Managing Cold and Flu Season

Written by Relish 03 January 2023
“There’s never a good time to get sick, especially not 2 weeks into a new job and a handful of days before the festive period!” – Our newest Relishee, Mollie Cross.
In mid-December 2022, I started my career with Relish Agency. I bounded into the office on a Monday morning, well-rested, bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed – practically bouncing off the walls – ready to jump headfirst into the world of product sampling. I could not have been more enthusiastic or excited to be working with brands I adore like ASOS, Craft Gin Club, and L’Oréal. I was ready to put my best foot forward.
And in my second week?

I came down with The Lurgy* – and it was bad. Every symptom you could think of, I had. I was gutted. What’s more, I was annoyed with myself for something completely out of my control – I got the flu, in cold and flu season – shocker.


The first thing that came to mind was “What will my colleagues think?” “What kind of first impression will I be making?” “Everyone will think I’m skiving in my second week!”


I know I am not alone in saying I’ve been chastised for taking sick days, and it used to be considered a badge of honour to lug your congested, grey-complexioned, limp body into the office when knocking gently on death’s door. These were pre-pandemic times (and a very different industry) – but still not a fantastic attitude to working life.


I brought this old-fashioned, toxic workplace mentality to Relish and was told repeatedly to log off early, rest, don’t work too hard, and to look after myself. I wanted to struggle through and “prove myself” (another toxic thought process that I am now happy to have left in 2022) But in reality, the only way I’d get back to firing on all cylinders was to take the time I needed to recuperate, or I’d still be hacking up half a lung come April.


*I can confirm that luckily, this was not Covid, after a panicked LFT at 3am in my kitchen, terrified that I’d infected my new colleagues 5 days before Christmas.

There’s never a good time to get sick, especially not 2 weeks into a new job and a handful of days before the festive period, so I have some tips for recovery:


A little under the weather?

Stay at home and lean into it. As hybrid workers, we are immensely privileged to be able to prioritise our wellbeing in this way, not everyone has this luxury, and it should not be taken for granted.

Set your alarm an hour later and sleep through what would be your office commute, go camera-off and work in your comfiest pyjamas and tea-stained dressing gown, go for a nap or have a hot shower during your lunch hour, chug those Berocca and take five bathroom breaks in an hour (hydration is key to recovery, after all.)

These tactics should help nip your sickness in the bud, but if it does develop into The Lurgy, your colleagues will be immensely grateful if you stay at home and spare them from infection.

You got it bad

Go to bed. Seriously, I mean it. Reschedule your meetings, delegate where you can, and turn your laptop OFF.

By mindlessly moving your mouse around whilst staring into the middle distance, you’re doing yourself and others a disservice. There’s nothing big or clever about spluttering your way through a meeting when you both know your flu-addled brain will forget everything in about 5 minutes and you’ll just have to rehash everything next week, anyway.


You are wasting more time trying to work at ~5% capacity than if you logged off for a couple of days to return at 100%.


Think about it, when was the last time you were frustrated when a colleague or client cancelled a meeting with you due to sickness? And if you were, I hate to break it to you – but you might be part of the toxic workplace mentality I mentioned earlier…


I can promise you this, if I’ve learned anything during my short time at Relish, the love and care of colleagues who genuinely have your best intentions at heart will speed up the healing process tenfold.


So, when life gives you lemons, make a Lemsip and for the love of all things health and wellness – go to bed!



Blog written by our

Mollie Cross

Speak to Relish about your next campaign

Get updates, news and insight from Relish sent straight to your inbox

    Got a question?