Career Development

How to Write a Sick Day Message

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When you feel unwell, it’s important to take the right precautions to keep your coworkers from getting sick as well. Using sick time when you need to is essential to your health and well-being and will help give you the time you need to rest and recover. This article will review how to write a sick day message that helps your coworkers continue working effectively while you’re away.

What is a sick day message?

A sick day message is a notice, often an email, that informs your supervisor and any necessary coworkers of your absence from work. A well-written sick day message can help you accomplish the following:

  • It explains when you will be out of work.
  • It offers an estimated time when you will return to work.
  • It provides basic information on why you’re taking a sick day.
  • It includes details that will help keep your workplace running efficiently while you’re gone.

How to write a sick day message

Follow these steps to help ensure you write a clear and helpful sick day message for your coworkers:

1. Check your company’s policy on sick days

Some companies have a detailed policy regarding sick days. This policy may include when you will communicate your days off, who you should inform and the information you must include. If your company has a policy, make sure to follow it carefully. In some workplaces, you will need to communicate whether you want to use paid or unpaid leave.

2. Address the right people

Your supervisor is the primary recipient of your sick day message. However, it will also help to write a similar message to your team. If you planned to co-host a webinar, for example, you should write a sick day message for the other presenter so they know how to proceed.

3. Write a clear subject line

Write your email’s subject line clearly, including the most important information within a few words. Keep the subject line short and specific such as “Cameron Wall – Sick Day – Wednesday, June 26.”

4. Explain why you’re out

Provide a brief explanation of why you aren’t coming to work, and detail what type of leave you’re taking. For example, you may need to let your supervisor know if you’re counting this as a sick day or personal day. You can often just state that you are ill, which will let your recipients know you’ll be returning as soon as you’re able.

5. Estimate the length of your absence

If you have an idea of how long you will be out, provide this information to help your colleagues plan for your absence. If you’re not sure, you may say that you expect to be back in the office shortly. If your doctor told you to take a certain number of days off, include this information.

6. Detail your availability

Let your coworkers and supervisor know whether they can contact you during your absence. One option is to let your team know if you can check your email throughout the day. Similarly, consider specifying if you think you will be too sick to do any work from home. This will let your recipients plan how to address situations that usually need your input.

7. Provide instructions for essential projects

If you’re in the middle of an important project, provide as much direction as you can to keep things going while you’re gone. This might mean attaching a draft of a presentation, providing the link to a folder of important information on the cloud or outlining the next steps your team will need to take.

You can also let your coworkers know if an important client expects to receive a proposal while you’re gone or if a product order requires approval. This step will help ensure your projects can continue smoothly when you’re away.

8. Offer another point of contact 

Refer your supervisor or coworkers to someone you work closely with who can answer most questions in your absence. You should send a separate message, explaining that you’ve named them as an alternative point of contact until you get back.

Sick day message example

Hello Tim,

I’m taking a sick day today because I’ve come down with the flu. I expect to be back within the next few days, but I am currently available to check my email periodically. I will let you know if my condition worsens and I am out of contact. I attached the outline for today’s new product briefing, and I have contacted Sue to ask that she handle this meeting in my absence. If there are any additional questions regarding the new product rollout, she has access to all of my documents on the cloud. Let me know if you have any questions. 

Thank you,
Karen