5 Rules to Follow When Calling in Sick to Work
To call in sick, or not to call in sick, that is the question.
We can imagine Shakespeare’s Hamlet saying those lines. Luckily (or not) he didn’t have a traditional 9 to 5 job, nor did he have a boss who impatiently shook his head after he called in sick to work again.
However, calling in sick to work can look like the beginning of a real office tragedy. You cannot move, your nose is runny and your head feels so heavy. However, you still think about those piles of work waiting just for you.
Or you just need a day off to finish some things and calling in sick is the only solution. In fact, sick leave abuse happens when our office policies are too strict, leaving us with no choice but to lie about the real reasons for not coming to work.
Whether you woke up feeling sick, or have some important things to do, there are some procedures you should follow when calling in sick to work.
1. Understand the rules of your office
Most of us working our 9 to 5 jobs have personal and paid sick leave as a part of our benefits package. And, even though we’re technically allowed to use them, our managers tend to discourage us from doing so. They do it sometimes explicitly by commenting on our sick coworkers taking their sick day off work or implicitly when we really don’t know when was the last time someone took a sick day in our office.
If you have a similar situation at work you have to pay close attention to how your coworkers react when someone calls in sick to work. Observe if your boss starts bad-mouthing as soon as someone calls in sick to work and pay attention to your coworker’s reaction to it.
One important thing to remember when calling in sick to work is to remember your boss’s preferences when it comes to notifying him/her. Some of them think it’s unprofessional if an employee sends an email without following up with a phone call, while others are completely fine with this approach. Whatever the case is, you should take close attention and follow the official rules.
2. Drop the hints as soon as you start feeling sick
It’s not your boss you should only worry about when calling in sick to work. Your coworkers are probably the ones who will have to pick up the pieces and do your part of the job if you don’t come to work.
Make sure you start dropping little hints as soon as you start feeling sick to see what are their reactions and give them a little heads up you might not come to work tomorrow.
However, make sure you don’t overdo it. Nobody likes to listen to complaints all day, so just try to make it as subtle as possible.
Another tip we could give you is to notify your coworkers about your absence too and send them a separate email or message. This will make taking your sick day much easier and you can guide them on why should they cover while you’re absent.
3. Keep it brief
Some people may feel anxious about taking a sick day and feel the need to justify themselves. And even though explaining the reasons behind your absence is completely okay, nobody wants to hear extensive stories about how much you feel bad.
On the other side, if you’re calling in sick for personal reasons, going into details about how sick you’re feeling can easily be turned into overdoing it. So, the best way to do it in both ways is to keep it brief and avoid going into details.
4. Explain your availability
When you’re calling in sick to work it’s important you tell your employer (and your coworkers) your availability. Maybe they will need some information only you can give them or something will come in urgently for you. In both cases it’s important for your employer and coworkers to know if you’re able to respond and check emails or not and what should they do if they want to reach you while you’re taking the sick day off from work.
One important thing you should remember when we’re talking about your availability during your sick day is to avoid extensive use of social media channels. If you’re unable to come to work and your boss and your coworkers see you posting on social media they might think you don’t feel as bad as you’ve said. We would recommend you steer clear of social media on your sick day off from work or try to cover up your activity as much as you can.
5. Mention any important information
Whether you’re working alone or you’re a part of a bigger team some things only you know. That’s why you should discuss important information only if you know how to do it when you call in sick to work. Make sure you give clear instructions to your team on how to address it while you’re away to avoid any complications.
Also, make sure you ask if you should fill out any form following your sick day off from work. Many companies will agree on emails and phone calls, however, some of them might ask you to fill in some forms as a follow-up. Make sure you do everything correctly and avoid any possible inconvenience.
Calling in sick to work can become so much easier for you too!
Calling in sick is never easy: we always feel a bit guilty no matter how sick we are and sometimes it can be pretty stressful to call your manager when you know your sick day is not welcome.
Besides enabling you to send vacation requests and get approval in a matter of minutes, Vacation Tracker made requesting sick days easier too. All you need to do is to go into your Slack account and type /vacation. A small window will appear and you’ll be able to input your sick leave info in a matter of seconds and managers will be immediately notified.
With the info about their workforce capacity they can see in Vacation Tracker, managers will have to invest little to no effort in managing work despite their absence.
Vacation Tracker offers amazing perks for business’s all sizes and enables them to function on a more productive level without losing time on technicalities. You can try it out too and see how it fits your business model for free, by signing up for a 7-days free trial period.
A cat enthusiast and a cupcake maniac, Ana is a freelance Content Writer passionate about HR, productivity, and team management topics. When she’s not at her keyboard, you can find Ana in the kitchen, trying to make delicious cookies.