Have you ever chucked a sickie from work? If you answered yes, then you’re one of the 81 percent of Aussies who have done so at least once in their careers. In fact, a recent study done by a software company TSheets who surveyed (anonymously, we assume) 500 workers, found out that only about half of workers who took a sick leave were indeed sick. The rest were simply chucking a sickie.
People’s reasons for doing so included to save up their annual leave, go to a sporting event, to spend time with family and friends, or simply to recover from a hangover.
While chucking a sickie may come with a certain amount of guilt (the 19 percent of people who reportedly never done so in their lives cited not wanting to let their co-workers down as one of the most common reasons) – there are good reasons to put the guilt aside and look at the benefits of this beloved Aussie tradition with clear eyes.
Your health will thank you
Let’s look at the facts. We are one of the most sleep deprived countries in the world, with 37% of us getting less than 7 hours of sleep every night. Work demands and shift work are among the top reason for people not getting enough sleep.
While some might tell you about the high costs that chucking a sickie puts on your employer, sleep deprivation costs our country even more.
Of course, it is recommended that you try and get 8 hours of sleep consistently every night, but sometimes life has other plans, and the best self-repair strategy would be to take a day off just to catch up on sleep.
Actually, one study found that workers who are permanently tired are more likely to go to work when they’re sick. That means that you might be so tired and disconnected from you body and health that you might not even recognize that you’re sick!
So go ahead and call your office, and you might not even have to feign that sick voice.
Your mental health will thank you
It’s a sad reality that in our world, the word “diarrhoea” usually evokes more sympathy than the word “depression”. The latter, especially in combination with the word “sick day” makes people raise an eyebrow in a “you gotta pull yourself together, mate” expression. But the truth is that we all need a mental health day once in a while, when the world is just too overwhelming to face.
So until we as a society become more mental health friendly, you will just have to replace one d-word with another. Yes while there may be work to do, you also need to make sure you are getting enough sleep as inadequate sleep significantly impacts the likelihood of depression, anxiety, and emotional stability.
Your productivity will increase
Some will tell you that chucking a sickie negatively impacts businesses, decreases productivity and results in millions of dollars in loss for employers.
But a more realistic statistics is one provided by the recent study done in New Zealand that tell us that companies who let their employees work a 4-day week found their staff become happier and 20% more productive. Your company is not yet ready to jump on a 4-day week bandwagon?
Lead by example and show them that you’re much happier and more productive on those weeks when you take a day off (for whatever reason). Just don’t act too happy the day before (or after) your planned “sickie”, as that might raise some suspicions.