Its a worrying time for employers when someone invents an app designed to fool bosses into thinking a member of staff is genuinely ill. British business loses millions of days through "illness" every year and it hits small business the hardest - the ones who need "all hands on deck!"
The new service, Skiver, allows users to come up with the ‘perfect cover story’ and even suggests activities to fill a ‘sickie day’.
The developer says it’s all just tongue-in-cheek, but these are serious times, and even playing with the concept of increased absenteeism in an era when productivity is paramount to our country’s development can be a dangerous thing; after all, absence in the workplace already costs the economy reportedly around £17 billion a year.
At the end of the day (or should I say, the start) it seems certain employees will always be looking for ways to stay at home from time to time, which is frustrating for many. As Charlie Mullins, managing director of Pimlico Plumbers says, ‘You would have thought that the severe after-effects of the recession and the current economic pressure we are all under would have helped people realise how lucky they are to have a job compared to the 2.5 million on the dole; yet some will still come up with some pretty mad reasons to avoid a day of hard work.’
It seems other technology companies are taking the problem more seriously – but to equally useless effect. The other day, someone sent me a press release enthusing about a piece of software which ‘helps employers work out whether staff are genuinely sick or just pulling the wool’. It works by ‘spotting patterns in people's absence - so people who only ring in sick on Mondays or Fridays, for example’. In other words, totally eradicating the five minute requirement for your HR staff to embark, Columbo-like, on the same investigation, and subsequently about as practical as a carpeted waterpark.
There’s obviously no cut and dried solution to absenteeism, but as an employer, simply not coming across as a pushover would be a favourable start. And if that ‘cover story’ looks too good to be true, maybe it is.