28 November 2013

Stop staff taking sickies to go Christmas shopping

Staff calling in sick so they can do their Christmas shopping is expected to cost the UK economy £161 million, new research claims.

Staff calling in sick so they can do their Christmas shopping is expected to cost the UK economy £161 million, new research claims.

The poll shows 1.8 million people in Britain are planning to skip a day of work by pretending they are ill so they can buy all their presents for the festive season in time.

With less than four weeks to go until Christmas Day, people are starting to panic about getting everything ready in time. And with the weekend crowds making shops unbearably busy, many employees are looking for ways to get their shopping done in the week when stores are quieter and their children are at school.

The survey, commissioned by, show one in five workers think it is okay to pull a sickie so they can go Christmas shopping -  one million more than in 2012. It also found that:

  • more than one in three people are planning to call in sick so they can be home to receive deliveries from online shopping
  • one in three want to avoid the hustle and bustle of going to the shops at the weekends
  • one in five are planning to skive off work so they can buy presents when their children are at school.

Tackling fake festive fevers and concocted Christmas colds

So what can you do as a business owner to avoid losing money due to Christmas-related sickies?

Consider giving staff an afternoon off to Christmas shop

If you give your workers time off to get their festive shopping done, they are less likely to deceive you by pretending to be unwell. And by organising the shopping time yourself, you can make sure it doesn’t fall at a particular busy time when you really need all hands on deck.

Allow flexible working

Letting staff be flexible about the hours they work in the run-up to Christmas will make it easier for them to go shopping without it affecting the productivity of your company. If your employees can start their working day later or finish early and then make up the hours at another time, they can get their essential tasks done without having to resort to pulling a sickie.

Give employees the chance to work from home

If you give your staff the opportunity to work from home, you will reduce the risk of them faking an illness. Working from home will allow them to be available to receive deliveries and the time they save from not commuting to your workplace can be used to prepare for the festive season.

Reward good attendance in December

Offer staff some sort of reward or incentive if they don’t miss any days of work in the run-up to Christmas. This may discourage people from calling in sick unless they are genuinely ill.