Oh, come on – don’t get your I-love-staying-home-to-watch-Seinfeld-reruns-on-my-couch pajamas in a bunch. If you’ve called into work before when you’ve been feeling perfectly healthy, you’re in solid company with the 33 percent of workers who have done so this year, according to a newly released CareerBuilder.com survey on absenteeism. And if you haven’t fibbed (e.g., faked a cold while eating a pint of Chubby Hubby and alphabetizing your DVD collection), chances are one of your subordinates has.
Here are the highlights of the Most Unusual Excuses for Missing Work This Year:
- Thanksgiving karma | Employee hit a turkey (yes, a turkey) while riding a bike.
Author’s Note: Animals - turkeys in particular – seem to be a hot topic this year. See our “Unusual Jobs” survey results for more on this phenomenon.
- Near-death experiences | Employee said he had a heart attack that morning, but that he was “all better now.”
- Just can’t find a thing to wear | Employee’s wife burned all his clothes and he had nothing to wear to work.
- They don’t have rifles, so… | Employee got kicked by a deer
- Paging Dionne Warwick | Employee’s psychic told her to stay home.
- Lightweight | Employee’s toe was injured when a soda can fell out of the refrigerator.
- Driving the dog to drink | Employee’s dog was stressed out after a family reunion
- Kissed and unfortunately told | Employee contracted mono after kissing a mailroom intern at the company’s holiday party – and suggested the company post some sort of notice to warn others who may have kissed him.
Well, I suppose that’s considerate, anyway. Grab your own pint of Ben and Jerry’s and read the full list of unusual excuses here.
The Real Reasons…
The nationwide survey of 6,800 workers and 3,300 employers also revealed the top reasons that workers who fibbed called in sick in the first place. While the unusual excuses may be a bit extreme, the real reasons that employees called off of work were yawn-worthy in comparison. Among the most popular:
- Going into hiding: 9 percent wanted to miss a meeting, buy more time to finish a project under deadline, or avoid the wrath of a coworker or boss
- The procrastination must end: 11 percent said they caught up on housework
- Needing some QT: 11 percent also reported catching up with family and friends
- One more snooze and I’ll get up… 22 percent reported needing to catch up on their zzzz’s
- Just a check up? 27 percent said they had a doctor’s appointment
- Taking a load off: 30 percent said they needed to relax and recharge
- And the biggest reason? (drum roll, please): A whopping 34 percent just didn’t feel like going into work that day.
It appears that many people (I’m sure most of us can relate) feel that they don’t have enough time in the week to get everything done. And it seems that workers are prioritizing their time differently – some leaving more menial tasks undone; others possibly neglecting quality time with loved ones.
Are you a concerned employer…or a stalker?
While the majority said they typically don’t question their employees’ reasons for calling in sick, others aren’t so easygoing. Almost a third (31 percent) reported having checked up on employees, and 18 percent said they’ve fired a worker for missing work without a legitimate excuse.
Going a step further, of those who have checked up on an employee, 77 percent have asked for a doctor’s note, 50 percent have called the employee at home, and 17 percent drove by their employee’s place of residence (anyone remember what happened when Oscar was sick on “The Office”?).
The bottom line = communication
I know I harp on it a lot, but I really do think that lack of communication is the root of many workplace - not to mention personal – issues, and that with better communication, problems like the one above can be avoided. But said communication works both ways; employees as well as their bosses must be honest about their needs.
As Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder.com, says, “It’s in your best interest to be upfront with your employer and chances are you’ll get the time you need.”
She adds, “More companies today are moving toward a paid time off system, giving employees more flexibility in how they categorize time away from the office. Employers are also expanding the definition of the sick day with 65 percent stating that they allow their team members to use sick days for mental health days.”
So start talking with your employees, if you’re not already.
And, um, watch out for turkeys during your morning commute.Related
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