excuses by employees

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Employees are likely "feeling that they do not have a supervisor or organisation culture in which they can freely take time off without being met with ridicule or challenge".

You wake up pre-dawn to squeeze in a jog into your busy work day ahead, and the first thing you see on your phone? A message from a staffer asking for the day off. Being a hands-on leader, you have a fair idea of whether the reason is genuine or an excuse. Sounds familiar?

Well, in possible consolation to those making up excuses to miss work, it seems that there is enough Google search data to identify the most common phrases employees search for before shooting off a message.

According to data collated by Frank Recruitment Group, the following are the 10 most popular Google searches, over a five-year period, on excuses to miss work: 

 Search Terms   Total 2018   Total 2019   Total 2020   Total 2021   Total 2022   Total Searches 2018-2022 
Calling in sick   59,400  73,200  33,000   261,530   385,780  812,910 
Best excuses for missing work  34,800   31,300   4,800   459,270   246,500   776,670
Excuses to miss work  52,800  52,800  48,800  177,050  219,180  550,630 
Excuse to miss work  640  0   0   216,080   304,910   521,630 
Excuses for missing work  3,320   0   0  174,250   241,430  419,000
Realistic excuses for missing work  0  0  0  173,910  234,870  408,780
Good excuses to miss work  69,600  33,000  0  96,640  147,220  346,460
Best excuses to miss work  17,540  31,300  4,800  104,950  153,320  311,910
Believable excuses for missing work  5,910  0  0  111,740  168,730  286,380
Calling out sick  61, 580  19,800  21,000  88,760  128,300  319,440
Cumulative Totals  305,590  241,400  112,400  1,864,180  2,230,240  4,753,810

Rowan O' Grady, President of Americas, Frank Recruitment, commented: "Seeing search volumes jump so drastically across the board in 2021 is definitely interesting. It seems to coincide with the beginning of the return to office which tells us that this hasn’t been the easiest transition for everybody."

Discussing the reasons people might be searching for excuses they can give to miss work, wellness coach Dr Shané P. Teran said employees are likely "feeling that they do not have a supervisor or organisation culture in which they can freely take time off without being met with ridicule or challenge".

Dr Teran also emphasised the return to office requires care on the part of employers. "A number of people are not experiencing the grace and understanding from employers that they need; which leads to a resolve of faking it but escaping by any means necessary. People are needing to take more time off in order to manage the long-lasting stressors that come with readjustment."

So what should employers be looking to do to better support employees so they won’t be looking for ways to miss work? Dr Teran noted: "Employers must find a balance amongst competing interests – revenue recovery and employee wellbeing."


Photo / Shutterstock

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