Does It Look Bad to Call in Sick by Texting?

Many employers consider texting in sick to be inappropriate.
i Goodshoot RF/Goodshoot/Getty Images

In an age where text messaging is many peoples' preferred communication method, it might seem acceptable to text in sick -- but think again. When you're feeling under the weather and need a day off work, a good old-fashioned phone call is still the best way to let your boss know you won't be showing up. Follow your company's rules regarding calling in sick to avoid incurring your boss's wrath -- and to ensure you don't face disciplinary action when you're back on your feet and ready to return to work.

How It Looks

    When you text a message instead of calling your employer to tell her you're sick, it could give the impression that you have something to hide. According to CNN Health, nearly one third of workers admit they've called in sick to work when they weren't really sick, and your boss could think you're simply trying to get out of a day at the office. When you call, your boss has the ability to hear your voice and is less likely to think you're lying about your condition to play hooky for the day.

Why It's Bad

    Not only does texting in sick usually reflect poorly on you as a professional, it's easy for a text message to fail to make it to its recipient. If your text doesn't arrive on your supervisor’s phone, she won't know that you attempted to call in sick. Even if the text message arrives, there are too many variables to consider when dealing with cell phone technology. If your supervisor has her phone on silent, has a dead battery or forgot her phone at home, your message could go unread until it's too late. When you speak to your boss on the phone, you have confirmation that your supervisor received your message and knows not to expect you to show up.

When It Might Be Acceptable

    In some instances, it's perfectly fine to send a quick text message to tell your boss you're taking a sick day. For example, if you work an early or late shift, your boss will probably appreciate a text message over a phone call that wakes her up. Most companies specifically state how to inform a supervisor that you won't be coming in to work, and if your company considers text messaging an acceptable method, it's fine to send a message. Regardless, always try to follow up with a phone call or email after texting to make sure your message went through.

Potential Consequences

    The consequences you face for texting in sick will depend on your standing with your boss, as well as any rules your company has in place regarding the practice. If you're a hard working employee with a stellar reputation, your boss might let it slide as long as you don't make a habit of it. If you're regularly sending text messages at the last minute to call in sick, your boss might take disciplinary action. In extreme cases, people have been terminated for texting in sick, so there is a chance that your boss could tell you to pack up your desk and hit the road.

the nest