Why your boss wants you to take a personal day

young attractive woman with an awful migraine iStockphoto

(MoneyWatch) Depending on your work environment, your relationship with your boss or your Paid Time Off (PTO) situation, you may be tempted to push through and work when you're sick, burnt out or preoccupied with family problems. But it turns out some bosses may prefer you just go ahead and take that personal day when you really need it. Here's why:

They don't want you to eventually quit

The long-term result of burnout is risking losing valuable employees, and no smart employer wants that. "We know that to retain great people, we need to not only be flexible but encourage our staff to take the time they need out of the office. As Dad always said, 'People are everything' and he couldn't have been more right on," says Ryan MacDonnell, who is co-owner, with her brother Miles, of Round Pond Estate, a winery and olive mill in Rutherford, Calif.

You might spread illness

If you're contagious, nobody -- including your bosses and co-workers -- wants you sharing your germs along with your in-office efforts. "You don't want sick employees infecting co-workers with the flu; sick employees are also never very productive and can often cause more work for others due to errors caused by cold-medicine induced hazy-brain," says Andrea Eldridge, CEO of Nerds on Call, a tech repair company.

You may cause injury

If you work in an office where physical tasks are being done, feeling sick or distracted can not only cause you to be less productive, it could produce a dangerous situation. "If you're in a job where safety is a concern or you're dealing with the public, a distracted employee can be a problem to the client, the organization and possible a danger to themselves," says Nick A. Shepherd, a management consultant and co-author of "Reflective Leaders and High-Performance Organizations."

If you can't work, you can't work

There are some days you just can't be productive, so going in benefits no one. If you're honestly going through a situation that doesn't permit you to get work done, deal with it so you can move on. But be honest with yourself -- if you just hate your job, it might be time to get a new one. "There are some people who make up pseudo illnesses or call in when they are hungover and call it 'food poisoning,' but if someone is truly sick or grieving, they are not going to get much accomplished in the office anyway. As long as someone is on email in case of a work emergency, then home is probably best," says Alison Brod, CEO of Alison Brod Public Relations.

  • Amy Levin-Epstein On Twitter»

    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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