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6 reasons why pulling a sickie is never a good idea

author: Fiona Peake

By Fiona Peake

The first Monday of February is when you’re most likely to fake being unwell and pull a sickie from work.

But before you start practicing your poorly voice and reciting your lines, consider these six inevitable downsides of taking an unnecessary day off. 

1. The ever-growing to-do list 

Picture the scene: you’re just about to log off for the day, mentally pushing back the tasks too large to take on now until tomorrow. The next day, you wake up feeling demotivated and tired, and pulling a sickie suddenly seems pretty appealing.

Fast forward to your return to work, and suddenly your hectic schedule has doubled in size to account for your time away plus additional tasks that have been assigned to you, and that demotivation? It's back with a vengeance. 

An average of 39 million working days are lost due to sickies every year, and playing catch-up is never easy. While taking care of your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical wellbeing, it's worth considering how to balance your need for a rest with the stress of a growing to-do list.

2. The impact it will have on your colleagues 

When you're off work unwell, tasks may crop up that are too important or urgent to wait for your return. This means a colleague will usually be roped in to help. Sure, part of the job is stepping in when it’s needed, but there’s also a high chance that in your absence, a colleague will be placed under unnecessary stress with more added to their workload. 

With stress being the top reason why people pull a sickie in the first place, if you're faking feeling poorly to get a day to unwind, you could be unintentionally having a knock-on effect on your fellow workmates that prompts them to do the same. If you're feeling stressed out or overwhelmed by your workload, speak to your manager. They may not realise how you're feeling and should be able to help you juggle your workload or give you priorities to focus on so that things feel more manageable.

3. The guilt 

You might have been dreaming of this day for weeks, but now you have it, you simply can’t enjoy yourself. It can seem impossible to shake the feeling of guilt that you’re neglecting your workload and your colleagues - and who knows what chaos could be ensuing in your absence.  

4. The anxiety 

If lying isn’t in your nature, then the chances are that your sudden rush of rebellion will soon be replaced by feelings of paranoia and worry that you’re moments away from being found out.  

Many companies have strict policies for monitoring staff absences, both to keep tabs on your wellbeing and make sure you don't have any problems they should be aware of, but also to prevent people from pulling sickies. Absences are usually entered into your HR record, and if you have enough of them, your manager may raise it with you. Would you be nervous wondering whether, when your manager asks for a “quick chat,” it'll be to go over the quarterly reports or your absence record? 

5. The cabin fever 

Even if you're brave enough to pull a sickie, you’re probably not going to venture out of the house for fear of being seen. But once you’ve had that lie-in and caught up on daytime TV, being stuck inside the same four walls can soon lose its appeal. 

Not to mention the increased risk of you eating all the junk food that's lying around the house, which, even though it tastes amazing in the moment, is likely to leave you feeling even more sluggish in the long run!

6. Is it really going to be relaxing? 

If you decide that your need for a lie-in is bigger than your workload, then the combined effect of all of the above tips will likely make it anything but the relaxing day you hoped for. Plus, how long will it be until you start to find all the things that need doing around the house? The oven is long overdue a deep clean, the floors could all do with a hoover and you’ve been saying you’ll clean out the kitchen cupboards for weeks. 

Guilt, anxiety, stress-cleaning, and a potentially limitless pile of work when you return? Doesn’t sound so relaxing after all. 

Although you're no longer legally required to work from home, many of us still are. But without the hustle and bustle of the office, it can be difficult to stay motivated. If you're struggling to stay focused, or keep your work and home lives separate, why not try our helpful tips to maintain your work life balance

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Fiona Peake

By Fiona Peake

Woman lay on the couch watching TV Woman lay on the couch watching TV