EHS OutLoud Blog
When Safety Interferes with Work

When Safety Interferes with Work

Until last year, I’d never been sick before. Not really.

Then, in May 2014, I was hospitalized for a week for a life-threatening illness. I was cured, but, during that time, doctors found another unlucky surprise in my body, one which caused me to have minor surgery last Friday.

I’m now on the fourth day of my recovery, camped out on my sofa working from home. My doctor has advised me not to return to the office for at least a week, ideally two.

Instead of driving downtown every morning, I stay in my pajamas and make breakfast while I boot up my laptop. I admit, things could be a lot worse.

The problem is: I like going to work. There’s a great atmosphere there and I genuinely like the people with whom I work. My desk is arranged in a comfortable blur of orange and cats with my pens and my notebooks just so. And there’s an open exchange of ideas and discussion around the office, which is great for an extrovert like me.

Yet, I’m stuck at home for my own safety. Doctor’s orders.

To be honest, I debated going back into the office anyway, despite the medical recommendation. While working from home can be convenient on certain occasions, like after a long business trip, in general, I’d prefer to work in a collaborative environment, not the silence of my home.

But I won’t because I want to have as quick of a recovery as possible; I want to return to my restriction-free life.

How often though do we sacrifice our own safety for what we want, or what is easier?

I had to be convinced (read: yelled at) by loved ones and friends to stay home this week.

It’s easy to point to unsafe behavior and question someone. But, in the moment, safety can feel like interference to work, to life, to fun. It can feel like the more difficult route and, honestly, sometimes it is.

But, ultimately, safety brings us back to our jobs, our friends, our lives. We just need a reminder sometimes.

TAGS: Safety
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