It’s been a long, dreary Wednesday afternoon. The office is slowly getting all their tasks done, but you notice that there is one individual hacking a lung up in between their keyboard strokes. This individual is a relatively new hire but has been working hard without complaint since on boarding. You’ve been the project manager for this department for some time, so you’ve started to notice the tell tale signs of when an employee is genuinely sick.
The ones that are really coming down with something are generally the ones that still come into work. These are the employees that will rush to the bathrooms with their stomachs churning and still come back to finish up formatting that Excel sheet. These are the employees that will down cough medicine in between sending out emails and writing memos. The fakers are actually easier to spot. The fakers try and force a cough, but it’s missing all the true markings of a sick cough. It’s too dry and they seem smug about it. The faker will talk about how lousy they feel all day in a feeble attempt to set up a believable backdrop for when they suddenly send an email at 530 the following morning explaining the bad chicken they ate the night before. The genuinely sick employee gets noticed just by how bad they actually look. However, the biggest way to determine if an employee is actually ill or if they are just trying to make the most out of the free company happy hour the night before is by what they show up with the next day.
Again it goes one or two ways: The faker will show up after his little vacation surprisingly chipper. It’s always about something how it was just a “24 hour bug” and they appear as if there was nothing wrong with them in the first place. The other option for the faker is that they actually look worse than the day leading up to their alleged food poisoning because they overdid it on their day off.
It’s a totally different experience with the person that was actually sick. They will show up, still looking tired but ready to start the day and get things rolling. It’s subtle but the theatrics shown by the faker is not present in the real sick employee the biggest differentiation between the two appearances the following day is the presence of one simple document: a doctor’s note. Read more.
While the piece of paper may seem arbitrary to most, the doctor’s note is the simplest way to look into the intentions of a supposedly sick employee.
An employee that actively takes their illness into their own hands goes to the doctor and is able to provide proof of their visit is attempting to show that the only reason that they were not available to work on that day was because biological reasons got in the way. This person has no true issue with the company, they are not looking for a free ride and they truly care about their career.
When a faker shows up, smirking after his brief day off, and has not made an attempt to validity their claims to illness, what does that say about their commitment to the company? It shows that not only are they taking advantage of the business, but they also can’t even be bold enough to come up with a fake.
From a managerial or boss’s stance, it’s generally pretty easy to determine if an employee is faking it or not. For the employee, it becomes a little vaguer. The boss has the ability to make judgments based on your performance and how they perceived your absence. For both the faker and the truly sick employee, others in the office will notice the aberrant and seemingly sick behavior. The main difference between the two is the follow through. The person telling the truth will notify their superiors that there is a chance they might not make it in the next day. The faker will drop hints while the truthful individual will go right to the source to give notice of what is going on.
From the perspective of an employee, the best route is to be direct. Tell your employer that you are feeling ill and that there is a good possibility that you will not be dragging yourself in tomorrow. Also, tell your boss that you will be able to provide a doctor’s note. The combination of these two factors will ensure that your boss knows that you are willing to jump through whatever administrative hoops are required to make sure that the company sees you as a committed employee.
It’s not difficult to be honest and forward with your physical conditions. We are humans that will eventually all become sick at some point. The best way to approach the situation at work is to tell your boss and just get the doctor’s note.