10 Good Excuses To Work From Home

Christina J Colclough

By Christina Colclough

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Who doesn’t want to have a perfect, zero-absence record? But there are days when urgent matters call for all your attention, and you have no choice but to excuse yourself from office work!

Excuses To Work From Home

Worse, those personal issues might come nagging at you at the last minute. How can you convince your boss to let you work from home without him doubting your commitment as an employee? Let me help you with a list of valid reasons no reasonable boss can ever refuse.

Top 10 Good Excuses For Working From Home

1. Dental Emergency

Persistent pain or loose dental fillings often require immediate attention. The pain and discomfort (both from your teeth and the side effects of medication) make it extremely challenging to focus on work in an office environment! 

You also need time to recover; therefore, remote working will provide a much more comfortable environment during the early stages of your healing. Plus, do not forget that injuries involving swelling or bleeding might transmit potential viruses to other colleagues. Your boss will understand if you want to stay at home.

2. Doctor Appointment

Nobody can deny the importance of regular health checkups, especially if they are already undergoing medical treatments or have recently been ill. 

Though most of these appointments can be scheduled in advance, there might be exceptions. 

Let’s say you need to consult with a specialist for an unexpected health concern; then, it is difficult to predict when the appointment will be available. Your doctor may also recommend diagnostic tests (e.g., imaging studies or blood tests), which can not be performed outside regular business hours.

And here is the best part about this excuse: most employers do not usually ask their employees to share the specifics of the appointment. You can keep all your personal matters totally private!

3. Family Obligations

Emotional distress is inevitable when something unfortunate happens to your family members. No matter how hard you try, focusing on your tasks when working in the office is almost impossible! Any understanding boss would agree to let you stay home for a more comfortable, supportive environment. 

In the case of sick family members, remote working allows you to fulfill all the urgent caretaking responsibilities while still attending to your work deadlines. Not to mention, some family emergencies even require travel on short notice, so remote work with flexible schedules is the only solution left. 

4. Important Packages On Delivery

Amazon shipping service

Valuable or sensitive items often require a signature. Obviously, you will have to stay at home to receive them! And even if signatures are unnecessary, nobody in their right mind would want to entrust their confidential information to a random neighbor next door. 

Sometimes, the package will be assigned to a specific delivery timeframe (e.g., from 9 to 9:30 a.m.), and missing the delivery might result in lots of future inconvenience. Such cases are more common than you think, so your boss should have no problem agreeing to your last-minute request. 

Still, if possible, I suggest sharing the tracking information with your employer to show them that your reason to work from home at the last minute is totally valid. You should also assure them that you will always be accessible and available for any work responsibilities while waiting for the delivery.

5. Injury

Small injuries, even if not life-threatening, still bring in significant physical discomfort. 

A sprained ankle, for example, makes it quite a struggle to walk around, especially if there is swelling. Strained or pulled muscles in the back are no better, and sitting for hours in an office chair might worsen your pain! And I have yet to talk about contusions or fractures in fingers or limbs, which interfere with even the most normal movements.

Therefore, working from home allows you to choose a more comfortable workspace. And since the wound is not really a serious medical issue, your boss will unlikely ask for doctor’s notes or documents once you return.

6. Road Work

Needless to say, road work often leads to traffic congestion and longer commutes. The situation can get twice as bad if you usually rely on public transportation! 

On another note, construction activities also bring in more dust and noise. If you suffer from any medical condition associated with these environmental factors (and your boss already knows about it), they will be more convinced to let you work from home. 

7. Car Trouble

Car Trouble

Examples: flat tires, broken engine

There is no way one can “predict” or “foresee” car issues; they often arise during the most unexpected times and even leave people stranded in the middle of the street. 

Public transportation is not always readily available. Plus, you also have to wait for a tow, schedule repairs, obtain replacement parts, etc. So many things to do! Your boss will not question it if you have to work remotely in a nearby cafeteria or library until the issue is fixed.

8. Water Leak 

Just like car issues, water leaks are often totally unexpected, and the urgency to address the problem as soon as possible makes it almost impossible to stick to your regular office schedule. 

Furthermore, since the situation often involves professional inspections, you need to stay home to work with the repair services while ensuring the safety of your living space. No boss can refuse such a valid excuse, especially if you have never used it to work from home before. 

9. No Childcare


Does your child go down with a sudden illness, like food poisoning? Has the school closed unexpectedly or did something happen with the caregiver? In these urgent situations, parents obviously cannot attend their workplace as usual. 

Worse, if your sick child suffers from an infectious disease, you would likely be affected yourself and further spread the virus to other office workers. Working from afar will be the best solution for everyone. 

10. Sick Pet

For many of us, pets are like family members, and it is hard to focus when they are unwell. These pets also need special care and monitoring (e.g., during bathroom breaks). Therefore, remote working is clearly the best choice, allowing you to offer them the necessary treatments without compromising your work. 

Some open-minded bosses might offer other alternative arrangements and let you bring the pet to the workplace. But you can politely decline that suggestion: pets might be a huge distraction to other employees, and what would happen if one of them had an allergy to pet fur? Staying at home is still a reasonable option. 

How About Good Excuses For Working From Home For Long Periods?

Woman working remotely

1. You Want To Reduce Daily Commute Time

Spending hours commuting to work is a huge waste of money and time! If you have already proven your capability with an excellent track record, your boss might agree to grant you remote opportunities as long as your productivity is unaffected. There’s nothing unusual about this classic excuse! 

2. You Want Flexible Work Arrangements

While some employees prefer to stick to the 9-to-5 routine, others benefit from more flexible hours. So, it is a solid excuse! You can explain to your boss why you will be more productive and content with your work if they allow you to establish your timetable. 

3. You Want Better Concentration

A professional setting is not always the best place to focus. There are all sorts of distractions going on: background gossip, flipping papers, clacking shoes on the floor, coworkers that interrupt you every once in a while, and so on! 

Your proposal is perfectly reasonable and can get an instant nod from your boss, especially if you have been a very responsible employee who hasn’t been lackluster even once. 

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Although these are all the best work-from-home excuses based on my experience, they are unfortunately short-lived. Use them for a second or third time, and all their intended effects will vanish instantly! 

So, for your benefit, only turn to the common reasons above when you are really in an emergency.

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Christina J Colclough

Christina J. Colclough

Dr Christina J. Colclough is an expert on The Future World of Work and the politics of digital technology advocating globally for the importance of the workers’ voice. She has extensive regional and global labour movement experience, is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach, and strategist advising progressive governments and worker organisations.

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