Ever heard this from an employee that you manage or find yourself saying it yourself?
“Hello, how are you.”
“How can I help you?”
“I’m calling in sick”.
You wake up Monday morning, after what was a massive weekend, you feel drained, maybe still slightly groggy and ultimately in no mood to deal with work issues/ colleagues or the traffic to get there; so what happens… you call in sick. You text/email/ring/ even facebook message your manager to say you’re feeling ‘a bit under the weather’. They reply saying that it’s ok, and that despite the enormous workload they now have to deal with, wishes you a speedy recovery. Australians now take off an average of 9.3 sick days each year, a 7.9 per cent rise from two years ago. That compares poorly with the UK’s average seven days and the US’s six. (Paul Dundon, CEO of Direct Health Solutions (absenteeism expert).
So…What are the flow-on effects, and should you care?
- There’s the impact to you; your reputation, you’re sick leave balance, and your level of respect from your manager (especially if they get the feeling you are faking it).
- There’s the impact on your colleagues who now have to pick up your phone calls, reply to your emails or act as caretaker for your projects. You risk ruining friendships and work relationships with people who need to fill in for you. Morale certainly won’t be at its peak today!
- There’s the impact on your customers, while your colleagues try desperately to cover for you (potentially skimping on quality in an effort to get everything done). You may have promised that something will be done today; you may have promised a return phone call – none of this is going to happen today.
- Then there are the meetings you had scheduled or the lunch date, you now need to cancel that, for the third time now, you need to rearrange to suit both your schedules. This can be any stakeholder; colleagues, customers, external third parties etc.
- There’s the impact on your boss. While they endeavour to prove to their boss that the team is running smoothly, and that they have full control and respect of the team, and that despite the whole team not being here today they can hit their targets and prove their worth. Which can have further flow-on effects from the boss’s boss questioning why a team of 4 can do the work of a team of 5 successfully then there’s no need for the 5th person. This budgeting and forecasting and extra administration costs are all indirectly affected as your boss tries to make the numbers work.
- Lastly, and probably the furthest from your mind on Monday morning, it is the company itself who loses out. With team targets not met, the profits suffer either directly or indirectly through loss of sales calls not made that day, through hiring a temp to fill in, moving someone from another department to help you or even additional overtime just to get the work done.
So next time you wake up on Monday morning feeling ‘a little under the weather’, take a panadol and board that gravy train to work for everyone’s sake! (Unless you need to be incubated)