A new COVID variant is causing a surge in the US, which means you may need to ask to work from home if you're exhibiting any of the latest 2024 symptoms.
While the worst of the pandemic is in the rear-view mirror, new variants continue to pop up here and there, with cases and hospitalizations on the rise in response to the most recent iteration called JN.1.
As a result, employees and employers alike should be aware of new 2024 COVID symptoms, so they can be informed about when to go into the office and when to work from home.
What Is the New 2024 COVID Variant JN.1?
As you likely know, COVID has changed a lot since it first started the global pandemic in 2020. Because the virus can't be cured, new variants arise on a consistent basis, continuing to be a problem for those infected.
This newest iteration — called JN.1 — has become the dominant variant over the last few months. Fortunately, research has shown that there is no increased risk or severity with JN.1 versus other variants, but it's still important to keep yourself safe.
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To learn more about the JN.1 variant of COVID, check out the CDC website for official statements and updates about its progress.
COVID Surge in Numbers: Latest Data for January 2024
New COVID variants often bring with them a surge in cases, hospitalizations, and even deaths, which is why understanding the numbers can help you make a decision about whether or not you should work from home.
Here are the latest COVID numbers in regard to the JN.1 surge:
- 1% increase in positive tests
- 12% increase in emergency department visits
- 17% increase in hospital admissions
- 10% increase in COVID-related deaths
To stay up to date on COVID tracking numbers, check out the COVID data tracker on the CDC website for more information.
New COVID Variant JN.1 Symptoms
The pandemic made medical experts out of everyone, with everyone from professionals to everyday citizens checking on whether or not their symptoms were consistent with a COVID infection.
However, the new JN.1 variant has added a few new symptoms that are important to keep an eye on, which is why we've included them with other basic COVID symptoms below:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle/body aches
- Loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Nausea and vomiting
Obviously, Tech.co isn't a medical website, which is why we'd recommend you check out the CDC symptoms of COVID page to learn more about COVID symptoms before making any final decisions. If you have any of these symptoms, consult your physician or primary care provider.
Should You Work Remotely If You Have New COVID Symptoms?
If you're exhibiting one of the symptoms above, there's definitely a good chance that you have COVID. Obviously, you should test immediately to find out, and once you know for sure, you can make a decision about where you're going to work, if at all.
Suffice to say, if you have COVID, you should absolutely work from home if you can. Curbing the spread of the virus is still important for the overall health of your fellow employees, and employers likely don't want you slowing down productivity with a company-wide infection.
However, it's also important to remember that, just because remote work is an option, doesn't mean you should be working while sick. If your symptoms are bad enough to hamper your ability to work, taking a sick day to recover is in everyone's best interest. That is, of course, if your company allows that.
What to Do If You Can't Work From Home
Unfortunately, not every job, company, or manager is going to take an active COVID infection as seriously as they should. If you've just been diagnosed with COVID and your manager won't let you work from home, there are a few steps you can take to change their mind or even change your working situation.
As we've said, asking to work remotely is a popular employee perk and one you are well within your rights to ask for. Top tips when speaking to your boss include listing of benefits of home working, suggesting a trial period, and in this case reminding them that a COVID outbreak in the office is no way to kick off 2024.
In fact, the reality is that most work from home statistics show that productivity increases when employees are given flexible options. Tech.co's own research found that 47% of businesses notice increased productivity levels amongst employees who work remotely. Even better, another study found that businesses experienced a 22% performance boost when launching a hybrid work model.
If your manager is holding strong, you're in luck! There are plenty of jobs out there that allow remote work, so you can start applying immediately. After all, if your company doesn't value the health of its employees, it's probably time to move on. Check out our guide to remote work jobs for more information.