Employees in the United States are searching the internet for excuses to avoid work, just as their managers summon them back to their desks. According to a survey by the international employment business Frank Recruitment Group, the total number of Google searches seeking justifiable excuses to skip work skyrocketed during the previous two years and will surpass 2 million in 2022. That number was slightly more than 300,000 in 2018. The company examined search volume for 10 of the most common terms, including numerous variations of ‘realistic justifications for skipping work’.
Top outcomes, perhaps? illness, personal or family issues, medical appointments, and vehicle issues. The rise in desire for return to the office coincides with companies’ growing anxiety over employee lulls in productivity. Workers across various sectors have protested RTO requirements, particularly in big cities with long commutes. According to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, working from home saves Americans a total of 60 million hours each year in commute time. For many people, returning to their normal commute to the office means getting less sleep and having less time to handle their other obligations.
As the president of the Americas for Frank Recruitment Group, Rowan O’Grady noted in the research, ‘Seeing search volumes climb so substantially across the board in 2021 is absolutely interesting’. This suggests that the transition hasn’t been smooth for everyone as it appears to correspond with the start of the return to office.
According to Shané Teran, organisational development consultant and owner of SP Consulting, employees are reducing the stress that comes with going back to work in part by taking more vacation time. Additionally, according to the report, asking for downtime is frowned upon in many businesses, and many employees find it awkward to do so.
Businesses have paused or frozen recruiting as they prepare for a downturn in the economy, forcing employees to work harder with less resources. Teran, however, stressed that in order to reduce absenteeism, managers must strike a balance between encouraging productivity and promoting employee welfare. In a study released this week, the US Surgeon General urged employers to promote their workers’ health and wellbeing.
In order to solve these issues, businesses all around the world are experimenting with four-day workweeks. In a UK trial, productivity stayed constant or increased at nearly all firms, while in another study, it was discovered that employees with compressed schedules slept an additional hour or so each night, probably because their time was less constricted overall.