Calling In Sick Etiquette

The dreaded flu arrives swiftly and you’re sure you’ll need at least one day off from work to recover. Don’t panic if you are too sick to work. Don’t obsess over what you’re missing when you’re home sick, that’s no way to self-care and heal. Take the day to rest, focus on what your body or mind needs and don’t feel guilty because you need rest. Whether you are physically ill or in-need of an overall wellness day, communication is the key to proper calling in sick to work etiquette.

Here are some ways to handle illness:

  • Find out ahead of time what the protocol is for calling in sick. Write down the numbers of the appropriate department or person. Whenever possible, call in as early as possible. Most employers have a voicemail for sick employees, so if you are feeling bad the night before, call ahead. If you end up feeling better, you can just let your employer know that you are coming in despite the message. Additionally, be familiar with the rules for returning to work. Some employers may require you to get a note from a doctor if you have missed two or more days.
  • Know your responsibility so that you don’t jeopardize your employment status.
  • Don’t come to work sick. As much as you feel like you should be there, you shouldn’t be. You can spread your illness rapidly and you can also prolong your illness.
  • Don’t take advantage of your sick time. The less you call in, the better. So, reserve your sick days for days where you are actually sick. If you find yourself requesting more and more time off, your employer may find this interferes with your productivity. Remember to keep track of all appointments and missed time.
  • Be honest. If you are feeling overwhelmed or if you have a personal challenge, let your manager know that. You don’t have to divulge all the details, but be real and build the trust.
  • If you are well enough to work from home, express this to your employer. Let them know also that you will catch up on all work when you are feeling better.
  • Try to make arrangements as early as possible for someone to cover your shift or work load. Sometimes you are so ill that you can’t take care of anything- that’s ok. Take care of yourself so that you can heal quickly.

Illness happens. As long as you are not exhibiting poor attendance for pseudo chronic conditions, your sick days are there for you to utilize. If you don’t get sick days, remember that you are still doing what’s in your and your employer’s best interest by not going into work sick. Devote some extra time when you are well to making up the lost time. When you’re able to focus on your wellness, you will feel rested and healthier.