Managers know that people will have to call off sick sometimes. It’s just a fact of life: Someone gets sick, or their car breaks down, or something else happens that causes an unexpected absence or late arrival.
It’s also possible that some people call off when they could make other arrangements instead, or might take advantage of their company’s leave policies and take an absence that isn’t really needed.
There are right and wrong ways, and reasons, for calling off. Here are a few things to consider.
- How to call off: Make sure you know your company’s policy on reporting absences. Do you need to speak with someone directly? Do you need to send in notice by email? Will a text message suffice? Do you need to notify anyone other than your direct supervisor? Be sure to do exactly what’s required by your company to make sure the information is quickly and appropriately communicated to people who need to know about your absence.
- When to make the call: If you wake up sick unexpectedly, take a few minutes to determine how you’re feeling and see if you might be able to make arrangements to work at least for part of the day. If you’re under the weather with something that could be easily transmissible, like the flu, COVID, or a very bad cold, stay home but report your absence right away. If you test positive at home for COVID, some companies might require you to stay home until you test negative; be sure to ask your supervisor about your company’s policy.
- Notify your team if coverage or help is needed. When speaking with your supervisor, ask if you need to contact members of your team to see if they can help cover some of your responsibilities or tasks in your absence. If you think you might be out for a few days, let your supervisor know what you’re working on if a deadline is coming up so they can make arrangements to keep the project moving forward until you’re able to come back. Be specific and thorough if you’re leaving instructions or asking people to help so they can add your tasks to their day without having too much interruption. If you work in a job where you might need to find someone to cover for you, try to have a list of names in mind and offer to call the person directly.
- Consider other arrangements. If the reason you’re calling out is not specifically illness-related, but maybe you’re having car trouble or repairs need to be done at home, try to make other arrangements, such as getting a ride to work from a coworker or using a ride-sharing service, try to talk to your supervisor about coming in late but making up the time another day.
- You don’t need to share graphic details, but be honest. When you call off, you can tell your supervisor that you have a cold or flu. That will be enough! They don’t need to know the graphic details about how many times you were up during the night or what’s going on physically — just that you’ll be out. If, however, you think your physical ailments might be due to burnout, tell them that too. It might be the start of a larger conversation about your workload and work-related stress and could lead to the beginning of some positive changes at work.
- Know what you need before coming back. If you’re calling out due to COVID or another illness that might require missing several days of work, find out in advance whether you need to bring in a note from a doctor or other health care provider. When you do return, be sure to thank the people who covered for you for their help. If you’re out a long time, offer to bring them coffee or something as a token of appreciation.
Everyone gets sick or runs into car trouble every now and then. It’s not the end of the world, but excessive absences or tardiness could hold you back from that next raise or promotion and is a leading cause of turnover in entry-level positions. Every time someone calls out, it can put the team behind or add to your own stress and workload. Be respectful and reasonable about your use of sick time and calling out and be sure to help your team when someone else calls out.
If you think you’re getting sick or physically exhausted because of work-related stress and it doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon, it might be worth considering a new job. Davis Staffing can help! Take a look at the jobs we’re working to fill, then give us a call. Our recruiters can help you get your resume in order and will match up your qualifications with what our clients are looking for, helping you to find a new opportunity faster. Call Davis Staffing today and let’s get started!