Could Virtual Offices Curb Employee Hooky Days?

LOS ANGELES—Remember Ferris Bueller’s day off? It was a popular movie in the 1980s, and apparently the concept stuck with some office workers.

According to a CareerBuilder survey, 30 percent of workers in the past year have called in sick—even when they aren’t sick. The survey also reveals that sick days, whether legitimate or faked, happen more frequently around the winter holidays. Nearly one-third of employees say more employees call in sick during the holiday season. I believe virtual offices could help cut down on some of these shenanigans by fostering a results-driven workplace with the flexibility to workfshift.

Employers are going to great lengths to catch fakers. Some require a doctor’s note. Others call the employee later in the day. Still others had coworkers call the suspected faker or even drive by their home. Checking Facebook is a common tool to see what an employee is up to. Wouldn’t it be easier to empower employees with flexible work from a virtual office and a results-driven culture that holds employees accountable for getting the work done no matter when they do it?

Some employees just don’t feel like going to work (34 percent), or feel like they needed to relax (29 percent). Others take the day off so they can make it to a doctor's appointment (22 percent), catch up on sleep (16 percent), or run some errands (15 percent). When you allow employees to telecommute from a virtual office—perhaps even on days when they are under the weather, need a bit of a breather or have a doctor’s appointment—you can still expect productivity when you foster a results-driven work environment.

When asked to share the most memorable excuses, employers reported the following real-life examples:

Employee's sobriety tool wouldn't allow the car to start
Employee forgot he had been hired for the job
Employee said her dog was having a nervous breakdown
Employee's dead grandmother was being exhumed for a police investigation
Employee's toe was stuck in a faucet
Employee said a bird bit her
Employee was upset after watching "The Hunger Games"
Employee got sick from reading too much
Employee was suffering from a broken heart
Employee's hair turned orange from dying her hair at home

At the end of the day, you’ll always have some employees who don’t want to work—whether it’s from virtual offices in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago or at your company headquarters. But if you implement a results-driven culture, it takes the pressure off both you and your employees by allowing people to work in their prime and take breaks when needed.


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