We all have those off days when we don’t feel like going to work. It is tempting to call in sick. Type in the SMS about cold/flu/unwell, hit send and you are done. Apparently this happens a little too often in our part of the world.

Posted by: Tanvi (People & Processes)
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The Kronos Global Absence Survey says that Indian employees ranked 2nd in admitting to calling in sick when they are actually not ill.

We discussed this issue with couple of other companies in Goa and we learnt that the issue of unannounced leaves prevails in every company. Some companies even highlighted that there have been instances where employees take prolonged leaves on the pretext of being ill. But we aren’t talking about that. We are talking about 1 day unannounced leaves. In a small team like ours, even 1 unplanned leave makes a huge impact.

Firstly, let’s get one thing clear LEAVES ARE NOT BAD. Leaves are good. Leaves let us focus on our personal lives, spend our hard earned money and to take rest so that we can come back refreshed. Sick leaves are not bad either. It is human to fall sick. And sick leaves can never be planned, it is always sudden. Sickness can either be physical (where you can see the symptoms) or mental (nobody knows what is going on except the person). When we started off, we let our team members take leaves with the reason “I do not want to come to work today”. But to our surprise, nobody used it. Somehow “not well” was always a convenient reason. We wondered why?

While most team members continued to say not well, we tried to understand probable reasons behind unplanned leaves, some of our learnings were

  • Personal work like visiting bank
  • Woke up late, might as well take the whole day off
  • Work or workplace is not exciting
  • Bad relationship with peers or supervisor
  • Stress in personal life
  • Just don’t feel like working etc.

Somewhere even the generation has a role to play. The older generation, Gen X or the baby boomers have a work ethic which far more different than the Gen Y. Studies have proven that Gen X is workaholic. They are hardworking and relish long work hours and working over weekends. Although Gen Y is also hardworking, they value work-life balance, which is why they may come across as being lazy or undisciplined. As the workforce is evolving, workplace evolution is also a need of the hour.

At, we believe in maintaining a transparent relationship with everyone, and are vocal about it. We often talk about importance of planning leaves in advance and how unplanned leaves disrupt the workflow. Not just that, we also made some changes to our leave and attendance to make everyone’s life a little better. For instance, we moved from fixed to flexible working hours. This way, everyone has a free reign to decide their own work schedule. One can do justice to personal responsibilities and at the same time not be late to work.

We often have one to one coffee conversations with our team members to understand their opinion about the work, workplace and the people. These sessions help us get first hand feedback from our people and we try to act on whatever is feasible. We also have activities and games to break the monotony. Recently we started serving fresh homemade breakfast every morning. After all, nobody works well when they are hungry. Obviously all this will only work when they are reasonably satisfied with their work.

We are fortunate that some of our oldest team members took it to heart and have been consistent with their attendance. One of them, over the span of 2 years with us, has not taken a single unplanned leave. The rest of them were less than 2, over 2 years, which is much less than the team average. We wanted to do something special for them. So in the middle of a busy workday, we broke an announcement and rewarded our stars with really cool custom made tshirts.

Here’s what the t-shirt looked like