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Excuses, Excuses: Web Searches For Reasons to Skip Work Soar in 2022

Workers look for excuses to skip skip work when the calls to come into the workplace get louder.

Just as their managers summon them back to their desks, US workers search the internet for justifications to skip work.

A survey by the international employment business Frank Recruitment Group found that over the past two years, the total number of Google searches for justifiable excuses to skip work skyrocketed, reaching 2 million in 2022. That number reached little over 300,000 in 2018. A number of variations of “realistic excuses for missing work” were among the ten most common search terms that the company examined in its analysis of traffic.

A number of the best outcomes? illness, domestic or family issues, medical appointments, and car problems.

This increase coincides with executives’ growing anxiety with employee downtimes in production and silent resignations, as well as rising expectations for office return. RTO requirements have faced opposition from workers across industries, particularly in big cities with long commutes. According to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, working from home allows Americans to jointly cut their daily commute time by 60 million hours. For many people, going back to work on a regular basis means getting less sleep and having less time to balance their other obligations.

Seeing search volumes jump so drastically across the board in 2021 is definitely interesting, Rowan O’Grady, Frank Recruitment Group’s president of Americas, said in the report. It seems to coincide with the beginning of the return to office, which tells us that this hasn’t been the easiest transition for everybody.

According to the survey, organizational development consultant and president of SP Consulting Shané Teran, employees are addressing workplace pressures in part by taking more time off. The results also show that asking for downtime is disapproved upon in many businesses, with many employees uncomfortable expressing the request explicitly.

Companies have reduced or frozen hiring as they prepare for a downturn in the economy, forcing employees to work harder with less resources.

Teran, however, argued that in order to reduce absenteeism, managers must strike a balance between encouraging productivity and promoting employee wellbeing. In a study released this week, the US Surgeon General urged employers to promote their employees’ health and welfare.

To solve these issues, businesses all across the world are experimenting with four-day workweeks. In a UK trial, productivity stayed constant or increased at nearly all firms, and a another study discovered that employees who worked a compressed schedule slept an hour more each night, probably because their time was less constricted overall.

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