How does calling in sick affect the workplace?

Kelly Hayman 19.09.2013

After reading in the news recently about the global release of the new Grand Theft Auto V Computer Game, by Rockstar Games, and how an online survey gathered enough information from gamers to predict that thousands of them had either booked the next day or week off work as holiday or planned 'sickness' made my jaw drop!

What a crazy excuse to ‘pull a sicky’ as it were, and how will such an event affect so many different businesses around the world, if some of their work force are avid gamers in their pass time? 

Do you think about the consequences and the pressure it can put on your fellow work colleagues before you call in sick for work, when you are not actually ill at all? Read on to discover how staff absences can affect the companies who employ those who might have come down with a case of the dreaded ‘gaming flu’.

Employees who call in sick are a fact of everyday business life, but while having staff off for illness (or sometimes not) can cause problems for businesses of all sizes.  Excessive absences can equate to decreased productivity and can have a major effect on company finances, morale and other factors. It can also have an effect on employee relations, with other employees having to add to their workloads to cover for absent colleagues. Even when sick employees return, depending on how long they’ve been absent for, they may find themselves “totally out of the loop” and need time to get back into the swing of things.  However, many employees are so dedicated to their jobs that they wouldn’t dream of taking a sick day. Given the economic meltdown, the highest unemployment rate in years, and redundancies around every corner, employees are more likely to drag themselves into the office even when they feel like death warmed over, or the seemingly popular ‘gaming flu’.

My advice to the workforce of today is to respect your employer and only ever call in sick when it is necessary or are genuinely feeling under the weather. The more sick days you exhaust, the more it could affect the working relationships you have with your fellow colleagues and your employer. You never know when you might need to ask for that important day off, and one day your request may get rejected because your relationship has been tested so much over time, that suddenly they are all out of favours for you. It’s very important to keep up appearances and show your commitment. Think before you make the call. 

People miss work for a variety of reasons, many of which are legitimate and others not so much. Here is a list of my all time top favourite unusual excuses given for calling in sick:

  • A can of baked beans landed on my big toe
  • I was swimming too fast and smacked my head on the poolside
  • My car handbrake broke and it rolled down the hill into a lamppost
  • I slipped on a coin
  • I am stuck in my house because the door’s broken
  • My fish is sick
  • My toe is trapped in the bath tap
  • I drank too much and fell asleep on someone’s floor – I don’t know where I am

What are your favourite excuses that you've heard? Which ones have been the most outrageous or comical? Feel free to let me know by commenting below. 

Kelly Hayman's picture
Manager | HR
khayman@morganmckinley.co.uk