How to Write a Professional Sick Day EmailReading Time: 4 minutes
When you’re under the weather, the last thing you want to be thinking about is how to draft a professional sick day email. To start, you might not be in the right mind to think about work at all. This is why being prepared is key. It helps to know the best practices when it comes to sick day email. This way, when you do feel sick one morning, you already know what to do.
For most of us, telling our boss that we won’t be able to come in to work is pretty scary. In particular, if we are new on the job, or unaware of the protocol. It can seem rather daunting. But no matter how uncomfortable it absolutely needs to be done. There’s no time to waste! As soon as you know you will be away from the office, you need to notify your boss and team.
In today’s article we will go over everything you need to write a professional sick day email. You’ll also find tips for writing a sick day out of office message that you can program in advance.
Announce your sick leave as soon as possible
As we just mentioned, it’s important to give as much heads up as possible. This way, your manager and team can put in place a back up plan to deal with your absence. Most sick days take us by surprise, but whenever possible try to give an early notice. For instance, if you’re not feeling well one afternoon, maybe communicate this to your team right away. There is no harm in over-communicating about sick leave.
Depending on what kind of leave tracking process your company has in place, you may be able to notify your manager about your absence remotely.
Closely adhere to your organization’s HR policy
No matter what the protocol is for absences in your organization, make sure you follow it as closely as possible. This will ensure that your accounts are in order with HR. When communicating with your manager about your absences, make sure you use their preferred method of communication. For instance, maybe a text is a slightly too informal option.
Be careful that some companies have very specific policies that require that notifications be sent with sufficient notice to the right individuals. Others require that you call in sick before sending out any email confirmation. Moreover, many organizations require written doctor’s note to justify sick days. Make sure you read through the requirements at your organization carefully. Doing this in advance is recommended, as you will certainly not feel like going through your contract or through an employee manual while you are ill!
Elements of a Professional Sick Day Email
To write the perfect sick day email, make sure you keep things clear and concise. Here are some elements you absolutely need to include in your sick day out of office message:
- Reason of your absence. Explain that your absence is related to sickness, but do not go into any specific details. If a colleague or client really wants to know, they can write you a private note.
- Length or duration of your absence. This could be based on information from your medical consultation with a doctor, or it could be an estimate. For instance, you know you are likely to recover from a flu in 2 or three days. If you are absolutely unsure, you can just inform your clients and colleagues that you will be back at work ASAP.
- Draw your communication boundaries.In an out of office sick day message, it’s important to specify whether you will be reachable via phone or email. For certain illnesses, you may stay home to protect the spread and to avoid infecting others. You might still be able to work from home however. So specify what your communication boundaries are for the coming days.
- Clarify whether you’re working from home or not. This is a particularly important element to determine for your HR department and for your boss. Will this count as a paid sick day, or a typical work day. It’s important to be explicit about this in your professional sick day email.
- Call on an emergency contact. If indeed you are not able to function, make sure you have a friend at the office who can cover for any important meetings or call you need to be on. Appoint this person in your message. You can add something along the lines of, “John will sit-in on my client meetings this afternoon, and can be reached for any urgent matters regarding Project X.
- Professional sign off. Sign your professional sick day email with a short personal closing statement.
You can send over a version of this email to your HR department and manager and attach your doctor’s note.
Designate an emergency contact within your organization
As we just mentioned, designating a close colleague to hold the fort while you are away on a sick leave is key. Make sure that you’ve agreed to this with this person beforehand. Asking for someone to fill in for you by surprise is never fun. Most of all, be ready to do the same thing for them if they take a sick day down the line.
In an ideal world, your colleague knows your work and maybe even has the same role as you in your organization. He or she should also have access to your important work-files. Finally, he or she should be able to give you an update by email or upon your return to the office.
Set Up Your Out-of-Office Sick Day Email Message in Advance
You can set up your OOO sick day email in advance and program it when you need it. You can simply activate the professional sick day OOO email message, once you’ve confirmed to your boss that you will not be coming in to work.
Don’t get ahead of yourself by pushing the OOO message before you’ve gone through the proper channels to announce your leave to your immediate boss and HR department.