In recent years, an element of remote working has become an accepted part of many jobs. Most employees don’t need excuses to work from home.
Many companies have hybrid working policies in place, or offer some roles in a fully remote capacity. However, if your workplace is inflexible or you are looking to negotiate a permanent element of WFH, you might need some inspiration.
Our guide has great some great reasons to work at home at the last minute, and tips to negotiate a more permanent work from home arrangement with your employer.
15 Good Excuses for Working from Home Last Minute
If your workplace is not always flexible, and you’re not quite ready just to wheel out a good reason to take a sick day, here’s some good reasons to work from home at the last minute instead of tackling the dreaded daily commute.
1. Your Child Is Sick
This is the best excuse to use by far, as long as you do have a child! The old “my child is too ill for nursery or school” is the easiest reason to use when you want a day working from home.
Just be mindful of being seen on the school run by any colleagues, that would be a little awkward! Big coat, and hat, bundle the child through the school doors and make a speedy exit!
You should also make sure that your employer’s work at home policies allow work and childcare to be combined. In some companies, it’s a big no no.
Compassionate leave is not always paid either because you are not sick, so do check before you talk yourself into an unpaid day off work.
2. Dentist Appointment or Emergency Treatment.
Dentists appointments are difficult to get, particularly on the NHS, so this can be a solid last minute reason to work remotely.
You can say that you have gotten an appointment as a cancellation at the last minute. Another good excuse is that that you’ve woken up with a severe toothache and have to use the ‘sit and wait’ emergency appointment procedure.
Both excuses are reasonable. However, beware of using this if your workplace has any kind of history of asking for proof of medical appointments.
3. The Car Won’t Start or Flat Tyre.
It might be an oldie but sometimes the classic excuses are the best, as they are timeless. No one can argue with a broken down car!
You can’t guarantee you will be in as you are sitting and waiting for the garage or the AA to come and collect it. However, you are happy to work from home until you know what is happening. Which, incidentally, takes the whole day, of course.
One note of caution – got a suspicious boss? If you get asked to take a quick snap, you may get caught out. Do also avoid making use of flat tyre stock photos. A 10 second Google reverse image search will reveal your ploy and land you in hot water.
4. You Are Experiencing Stress.
If you’re browsing the internet looking for excuses to work from home, there is a chance your mental health may be strained.
If this is the case, perhaps just saying you are experiencing stress or poor mental health would be better than any excuse.
Your manager will be well aware that you can self certify or be signed off work with stress. Hopefully they will agree that allowing you to be productive in a safe space for a day or two is better than you needing to call in sick.
Your employer has a duty of care to you. So don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to support your wellbeing at work.
4. There Has Been A Family Emergency.
Probably not one for those who have a big conscience but you don’t need to go into specifics.
This should ease your conscience sufficiently to go ahead and use this excuse. You might need to wait for an important phone call or just be on standby in case you are needed.
However, you are happy to answer emails from home while you await news.
5. You Have A Water Leak.
You cannot leave the house as your ceiling is currently donating water to the carpets below.
In between emptying buckets and making a call to the plumber, you are happy to work from home though.
This reason will work even better if you stand near a dripping tap at the time! If you have a suspicious boss who asks for a picture, this can be solved with a few squirts of a water mister on your ceiling. Bonus points if you can quickly fill a bucket of water and take an action shot of water dripping into it.
6. Migraine Attack
You’ve had a migraine overnight and it is just starting to ease off. You are at the nauseous and weak stage but you are happy to plod on at home where you can also rest up.
Anyone that has ever experienced a terrible migraine will understand the after effects. You feel like a zombie for a good few days.
It’s a better option than calling in sick, but not one to overuse. And also maybe not a Monday excuse. Too close to an admission that you’ve got a hangover.
7. You Need Quiet For That Big Project.
Dazzle your employer with your enthusiasm by asking for a work day at home so you can concentrate on the big project deadline that’s fast approaching.
The office environment is far too distracting and you would produce much better results in your own quiet space. This will allow you to be at your best and focus 100% on the task at hand.
This is a problematic excuse if there is no big project. A meeting with HR is likely to follow.
8. You Are Mentally Burnt Out.
Mental burnout is a recognised condition and should be taken seriously by your employer. We are not robots and sometimes we all need that day when we pull back a little.
Again, if you’re looking to make an excuse rather than being upfront about burn out, consider letting your manager know what’s happening.
Life and work can be incredibly stressful at times so asking for a work from home day should not be a big deal. Hopefully, your boss will be grateful you are working and not taking a sickie and will look to make sure you’re supported.
9. You Need To Go To The Doctor.
We all know the angst of trying to get an emergency appointment at the doctor’s. You have to go when an appointment is available.
Normally, it is a case of sitting tight for a callback or going in and waiting to be seen as a priority case. Working from home, therefore, is a must today so you can still put in all your hours.
10. You’ve Hurt Your Back.
Unfortunately, you pulled a muscle in your back and cannot drive or sit in an office chair.
Instead, you will continue to dose up on ibuprofen and will answer emails in whatever position you can be comfortable in.
Making a few ‘ouch ouch’ pained sounds while calling the boss might not be a bad idea either.
11. Public Transport Is Striking.
You may be one of the very few people who celebrate when you hear the trains or busses are striking again.
If you rely on public transport for your daily commute to work then a national strike will earn you at work from home day. Even if your route isn’t 100% likely to be affected, this is a good reason to work from home just in case.
However, this excuse is obviously only going to work if a strike is taking place. So this is a niche reason!
12. The Childminder Is Sick.
If you are a parent and use a childminder this excuse can come in very useful when wanting to bag some quiet work time.
It’s not one to use too often, but childminders do have sick days sometimes. If your kids are older it shouldn’t cause any issues. However, as with the sick child excuse above – check your workplace policy on flexible working when needing to care for children. Not every employer is happy for this to happen.
You also risk being placed on parental leave – which your employer is not obligated to pay you for. Not great for the finances if you were relying on a WFH day and end up with your manager insisting you take the day off to look after your kids.
13. I Need To Sign For An Important Delivery.
The bane of our life – waiting in for a 9 am to 6 pm delivery. Being unable to whittle the delivery time to a narrower timescale means you’ll need to stay home instead.
But you’ll happily answer those emails and continue with your deadlines. Not likely to work if it’s a bottle of gin, but larger items such as a sofa are more likely to be a good excuse.
14. My Pet Is Sick.
The dog has a horribly upset tummy. The UK is a nation of dog lovers, so this will be a good reason to stay home and work in case your pet makes a horrific mess while you’re out.
We all know how dogs and cats become part of the family, and your manager will likely be sympathetic. You might not get the same level of understanding if you need to watch your goldfish, so be careful with this excuse!
15. Home Repair Quotations
With tradesmen in short supply, you need to grab that appointment with both hands when one of them agrees to quote you on that job.
This WFH excuse will be particularly effective if you’ve been talking about building that extension or being fed up of your grotty old bathroom regularly.
If you think your manager won’t be that sympathetic about home improvements, an emergency repair can’t really be argued with.
- Reasons to call in late to work – a good guide if you’ve decided you need to haul yourself in to work but won’t manage to get there on time.
- Leave work early excuses – 20 reasons to leave the office early today.
Do Use Excuses Sparingly
So, you have 15 excuses to work from home ready at your fingertips. Try not to pull too many of these, your employer will soon become suspicious.
On a serious note though, if you are not enjoying your job for whatever reason, talk to someone about it. We all need those days when we do the bare minimum to get through. Use the time to recharge and regroup ready for going back to work.
The reasons above might work infrequently or as a one off. But please remember that if your manager suspects you of dishonesty, or catches you in a lie, your career could be adversely affected.
It will be better to take steps to try and secure a work from home arrangement without wheeling out too many last minute excuses.
Consider a Making a Request to Work From Home
If you are regularly making excuses to WFH, it may be time to consider formalising things with your employer.
This can either be done formally with a flexible working request, or informally. Either way, it’s not something to casually drop into conversation. You must approach it in the right way to maximise your chances of success.
Read our comprehensive guide on how to ask to work from home for help and support on asking your employer for permanent flexible working request.
But why might your employer be persuaded to let WFH become a regular feature of your work week? Being able to convince your employer it’s going to benefit them and you is key to success.
Good Reasons to Work From Home Permanently
Good reasons to work from home on a permanent basis should combine benefit to your employer, and your wellbeing.
Many employers will be aware that offering hybrid working is a great way to retain talent, and that happy employees with good work life balance are often more productive.
Here’s 5 good reasons to include in a work from home proposal or flexible work request:-
1. Increased Productivity
An office environment can be great for collaboration, but background noise and interruptions can reduce the ability to deep work.
This is a great reason for a permanent work from home arrangement. It benefits you through a reduction in workload stress, and your employer gets a more efficient workflow.
A 2022 CIPD study highlighted growing employer appreciation of the increases in productivity offered by hybrid and home working amongst employees.
In December 2020, 33% of employers said working at home had increased productivity. A follow up study in November 2021 found that 41% of employers now appreciated that allowing employees to work from home was a benefit to productivity. Over the same time period, negative sentiment about it fell sharply.
Source: CIPD press release, & their in-depth research data on flexible working.
2. Schedule Flexibility
Employees have greater control and flexibility over their daily schedules when working from home. The conflict between personal and professional obligations can be a problem for many emploees.
WFH creates flexibility for things such as picking up and dropping off children at school or childcare, caring obligations, or appointments.
3. Reduced Commuting Costs & Time
The daily commute can be a stressful, time consuming process for many employees. Working from home reduces time spent on the commute, which can create extra time and flexibility to complete work tasks.
A reduction in commuting costs can also save money for employees. Both these things improve wellbeing and work life balance.
4. Reduced Office Costs
Many employers who have introduced an element of working from home into their business have seen significant cost savings for the business.
Less employees in the office can mean a reduction in office space costs, as well as heating and lighting costs.
5. Improved Work Life Balance
Stress is one of the biggest causes of workplace absences. Work from home and flexible working practises improve employee wellbeing.
An improved work life balance helps with staff retention and overall productivity. A happy team enviroment is something every business should strive for.
Bid Farewell to WFH Excuses
If you can make a convincing work from home case, you can bid farewell to those last minute home disaster and medical work from home excuses.
If a hybrid work model is something you would benefit from, try to formalise it. You’ll only be able to find so many excuses each year before your manager’s suspicions are raised.
Repeated dishonesty might affect your career prospects, and could affect your chances of landing a permanent work from home arrangement.