I was always a sick leave taker. Would take everything I possibly could and then end up with some days unpaid sick leave because I ran out. In a job where typically most people would build up their sick leave. I had legit health conditions but still was made to feel like a bad guy for being unwell.
For me, one of the hardest parts of work was always getting to work. Facing a 3 hour commute on top of feeling like hell was a big hurdle to get over in terms of committing to a day of work. When public transport was involved as well, it was a big factor influencing me in taking a whole day off instead of attending. Work from home was not a possibility until the pandemic.
If I had the option to work from home on those days, I probably could have got a full load of work done, It would have been 7.5 hours of work unencumbered by socialising versus 10.5 hours of commute burdened with having to interact with the entire public. Doable versus impossible.
This would leave me in situations where I would drag myself to work when I was very much too unwell to be there. I travelled with influenza, I went to work with gastro. Because on those days I could actually get myself to the workplace, unlike on other days when the choices were attend work or self harm.
No doubt I would have been exactly that person when forced back into the workplace - taking leave now when needed because I could afford it, particularly if being forced to attend in person when wfh is now off the books.
My partner is now working in a similar job and faced similar issues. Working from home he took less sick leave last year, although he did take a week off at one point as it all got too much (lockdown is hard). I am hoping that ongoing the flexibility to work from home on days when he feels unwell remains.