Do Virtual Office Workers Use Fake Sick Days?

TORONTO—When you work from a virtual office, do you really need to call in sick? Many workers in traditional office settings admit to taking sick days, bereavement, or jury duty as additional vacation time. So says an Adecco survey.

Although 36 percent of workers are allotted more than three weeks of vacation per year, workers still want more. According to the survey, 44 percent would be happy with one or two additional weeks of vacation and 22 percent would want three or more.

Of course, we’d all like more vacation time, but you may be surprised at how many people fake it: taking sick days when they aren’t sick, taking bereavement days when no one in their immediate family died, and claiming jury duty when they were never subpoenaed to court.

Indeed, almost half (47 percent) of workers admit to using sick days as vacation days. However, many more workers (72 percent) judge their colleagues—thinking they use sick days when they’re not actually sick.

Surprisingly, more than a quarter (26 percent) have taken bereavement days and jury duty (27 percent) as vacation time. Men are nearly twice as likely to use bereavement time (34 percent vs. 18 percent women) and nearly four times more likely to use jury duty (40 percent v. 11 percent women) as vacation days.

When you work from a virtual office, it may be easier to fake it. But I find that fewer do. Virtual office workers tend to be productivity-minded to begin with, so even if they do take an afternoon off they get all their work done first. Virtual office workers tend to workshift more than the average employee, and that’s OK, again, so long as the work is getting done.

What’s your take? Do you think virtual office workers call in sick when they aren’t? Or do you think they are more likely to work at home even with a cold? Based on my own personal experience, I’d have to say that latter is more often true.


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