Running a small business or social enterprise is difficult at the best of times, but if you encounter the common issue of certain employees failing to show up for work on a regular basis, you’ll feel time – and productivity – slipping from your grasp.

Despite this, new research appears to confirm that employees who take sick leave do feel bad about doing so.

Sick days reflect on us badly, say workers

The survey covered the length and breadth of the UK, collating answers from 1,300 workers. It revealed that just over 24% of professionals felt sick days reflected badly on them, while 13% believed it was something that’s frowned upon in the workplace.

Legitimate sick days can’t be helped, but there’s no escaping their impact on the social enterprise scene; they put a serious dent in productivity and require the remaining workforce to take up the slack.

Despite this – and proving just how fair we are in this country – more than 86% of UK workers say their manager demonstrates empathy when they need to take a sick day.

The ‘sickie’ endemic

Legitimate sick days are one thing, but what about the more questionable absences?

Over three quarters of the workers who took the survey admitted to having ‘pulled a sickie’ within the last twelve months. What’s more, 17.5% of them confirmed they’d previously made up excuses for not going to work.

In all walks of business life, sickies are a constant burden for managers, but in the world of the social enterprise, they can be particularly debilitating.

Social enterprises may have been at the forefront of the economic recovery (during 2015, 52% of social enterprises increased their turnover), but they typically rely on small teams. Therefore, if one person decides to stay at home for the day under the pretence of being ill, the ability for the organisation to continue servicing customers profitably is significantly impeded.

The top reasons employees call in sick

There are various reasons people turn to when claiming sick days, with the most common as follows:

  • Too tired: 43.4% (rises to 48.4% among 18-24 year-olds)
  • Simply ‘can’t be bothered’: 15.1%
  • Other plans: 13%
  • Hungover: Just under 1 in 10 (a figure that rose to 10.4% for men)

Clearly, people still rely on the most simple – and, let’s be honest, downright unacceptable – reasons for not turning up to work.

The 10 worst excuses for not showing up

Lastly, and to round off this post with something that will inevitably raise a smile, the research also uncovered some of the worst (or funniest, depending on your outlook) excuses people have given for not turning up to work.

  1. “I have blisters from wearing new shoes on Saturday night”
  2. “I’ve got a terrible migraine (also known as a hideous hangover)”
  3. “My hamster is sick and needs to go to the vet”
  4. “I left my work uniform on the bus”
  5. “I lost a darts tournament last night and I am too traumatised to come in”
  6. “A tree has fallen down onto my property and it needs to be cleared/made safe”
  7. “My boyfriend changed his relationship status on Facebook to single”
  8. “There are cows in my garden so I can’t get to work”
  9. “I didn’t get to bed until late so I’m too tired to come in”
  10. “I’m having a BBQ at the weekend and need time to prepare”

What’s the worst excuse you’ve received for a sick day? Tell us in the comments section, below – if you dare!

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