What is the Actual Cost of Being Sick?
To live life to our full potential, we need to be healthy. Sickness is an indication that there is something wrong with our body, which requires our attention and care. Only when we are able to cure that sickness or disease can we say that we are back to our normal self. Depending on what it is, Curing your sickness can cost a lot in medical expenses. However, sickness or diseases cost more than just the medical expenses that they incur. In the following sections we go over the actual costs of being sick.
Increased Professional Workload
Imagine how much work you do in 3 weeks in your office. Now imagine going to work one day, after a 3 week interruption, and having to do 3 weeks of work before you can continue with your regular job. That is one way of understanding the kind of workload that we are faced with after we go back to work. In most work environments, no one is actually made to do the work that they could not do while they were sick, but virtually that is the work that they have to do before they can catch up with their peers and workload.
Disruption in Relationships
Our relationships, whether professional or personal, require constant nurturing if they are to last. Being sick can hinder your efforts to make new relationships, as well as nurture old ones. In large offices, once you go back to office after weeks, you may even have to reintroduce yourself to new colleagues. With others, you will have to try harder to catch up with them. Relationships are important, whether in personal or professional life, and being sick can disrupt all except the closest of your relationships.
Apart from increased workload, there is also the case of opportunity loss when you are sick. Opportunity loss here refers to all the opportunities that you lost out on due to your absence. Such opportunities include pay rise, better transfers, making new business deals and other professional improvements. The more you are out of your work, the higher are the odds that you are losing out on opportunities that could have helped improve your career or business prospects. These days it is easy to remain in contact with colleagues and business partners even when you are sick at home or hospital. However, even then it is not possible to remain in contact with everyone that matters, so the opportunity cost of being sick is real despite the availability of a number of communication mediums such as email and personal chat.
Finally, the biggest worry for all of us when we get sick: the medical expenses. Unless you live in a country with social healthcare, medical expenses can easily run into thousands of dollars even for simple medical checkup and medicines. If you have medical insurance, being sick can result in increased premiums, due to placing you in a higher-risk category of insurers. Therefore, being sick costs you money even when you have medical insurance.
We find that being sick can cost us in a number of ways, some tangible and some intangible. All these costs compel us to arrive at just one conclusion: that you should aim to get well as soon as possible to avoid all the liabilities and disadvantages of being sick.