4 Best Excuses To Miss Work (+ How To Do It)

Needing to get out of work and informing your employer about it can be a tricky process. At times you might not feel entirely comfortable sharing the truth. And so you need a “white lie” to tell that doesn’t hurt your standing of being a good employee. But also gets you out for the day.

Let’s start with what makes up a good excuse and what makes up a bad excuse.

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Good Excuses VS. Bad Excuses

A good excuse is something that is believable. And won’t require you to continue to tell a lie over time in order for your employer to believe it.

For example, a bad excuse would be a death in the family. This is a bad excuse to get out of work because your employer will most likely care about the fact that someone passed away in your family. And will follow-up with you regarding it. This means you’ll have to tell more lies in the future, which isn’t great.

A good excuse is one that is relatable, believable and somewhat honest. It is something that has an expiration on it.

For example, a good excuse would be telling your employer that you simply aren’t feeling well. This can be the best way to get out of work last minute. And even if you needed to take the day off in advance, you could tell your employer that you aren’t feeling well last minute.

If they follow-up with you and ask why you don’t sound stuffy or something along those lines, just explain what type of illness or bug it was, and then move on.

The Best Last Minute Excuses

If you want to get out of work last minute, here are the best excuses to use and how you might be able to tell them to your employer.

Not feeling well

Say something like, “I woke up this morning and didn’t feel well. I’m not sure what’s wrong. But I was hoping I could take a day off today.” Be sure that you inform everyone on your team that you’re taking the day off. And move all of your appointments.

If you aren't sure how to describe why you aren't feeling well, use one of the following:

Family member is in need

Say something like, “My mother needs me today for some family matters. It seems like today would be a good day to take off. If it has to be one of my vacation days, I’m okay with that as well.” Be sure you inform all members of your team, as well.

Need to care for your animal

This doesn’t just have to be an animal, it could be that you simply have a lot of personal appointments. Like a dentist's appointment or a veterinarian appointment. Bring up that you have a few of these on this day and it’s better that you simply take the day off. Say something like, “I have a dentist and veterinarian appointment that I forgot about. They happened to both be on the same day. Is it okay if I use this as a vacation day?”

Mental health day

This isn’t a bad excuse. Most employers and team members will understand. But when you inform everyone about a mental health day, be sure you only express this to your manager vs. your colleagues. Colleagues might not need to know this information. Simply say, “I’m not feeling myself today. Is it okay if I take a vacation day today?”

What If I Need To Take Off In Advance

If you need to get out of work in the future and you know the date, you can either use a last-minute excuse the day that you need to use it or decide that it’s better to take a vacation day or unpaid workday.

Most employers will be okay with a last-minute vacation day. And if you don’t receive vacation days, they’ll be okay with last-minute needs you have to address.

Employers have changed their policies dramatically about this. Flexibility is one of the top benefits that Generation-Z and Millennials appreciate in the workforce. This has caused a shift in the workplace. Making it more common for employees to be seeking time off and last minute flexibility.

The point is, don’t overthink it. The need to take time off is okay. And it is understandable that sometimes you don’t need to share the reasoning.

What To Do After Getting Approval Of Taking A Day Off

If you get approval from your manager about taking a day off, don’t forget to inform your team. This can be a way to ensure that you get future days off. If your day off happens to disrupt the rest of the productivity in the workplace, your employer might be less willing to give you time off in the future.

The way to handle this is by informing each of your colleagues that you will be taking the day off. Moving any scheduled meetings that you are leading. Or informing those meetings that you will not be in attendance, but will have someone fill in for you instead.

If you are not feeling well, be sure to inform those who were in attendance at the meeting of that reason. All you have to say is, “I’m moving this meeting due to the fact that I’m feeling under the weather and don’t feel like I’ll be able to create a productive meeting for everyone. Let me know if this alternative time works instead.”

How To Inform Your Manager

Choosing the right venue to inform your manager is important. The best time to inform them is as soon as you can. For example, if you know the night before that you aren't feeling well (or plan to not feel well the next day), inform them that night. They won't be available or online at the time, but that's okay.

If your company uses the instant messaging service Slack, or any other type of instant messaging service to communicate, send your manager a direct message through that. If you aren't sure they'll be on Slack the next day, send them an email.

If they don't use any of these tools, you might have to make a phone call early in the morning. Ideally, they don't pick up and you'll be forced to leave a voice message, which might benefit you anyway.

How To Tell Your Colleages

As mentioned, informing your colleagues and attendees to meetings is a critical part of taking the day off. Here's what you'll want to do:

Other Time Off Resources

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams.

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