You jolt awake and instantly know something is wrong. Your head is pounding, your stomach is churning, and your body feels like lead. As you glance at the clock through bleary eyes, your heart sinks. It’s 7 AM…time to start getting ready for work.
There’s no way you can drag yourself to the office today. But the thought of calling your boss to call out makes your palms sweat. You really don’t want to leave them scrambling or make a bad impression. But staying home is the only option.
If this stressful scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Calling out sick or taking personal leave can feel agonizing, especially when it’s last minute. But with the right approach, you can communicate your absence tactfully and professionally. This article will walk through how to gracefully call out from work via text or email.
Table of Contents
Sample Calling Out of Work Text
- Hi [name], not feeling well at all today. Need to take a sick day. Can check email this afternoon if anything pressing comes up. Apologies for the late notice, let me know how I can help rearrange my meetings.
- Good morning [name]. My daughter woke up with a fever and vomiting. Taking the day off to care for her. Will follow up on the Henderson case from home. So sorry to miss the 9 AM briefing.
- Hi [name], I’ve come down with the flu overnight. I won’t be able to make it in today. Let me know if there are any priorities you need me to handle from home if I’m up for it. Really sorry for the late notice, I was hoping I’d be able to shake this off.
- Good morning [name]. Wanted to let you know I can’t come in to work today. My son had an accident at school this morning and I need to take him to the emergency room. I should be able to join the 2pm client video call from the hospital if that works on your end. Please let me know how else I can assist remotely today. Thanks for your understanding.
- Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it to the office today. I totaled my car on the way to work during the storm this morning. Thankfully no one was hurt, but I need to coordinate with the police and insurance company today. I’ll be sure to reschedule my meetings for later this week and catch up on anything I miss.
- Hi [name], I regret to inform you I can’t come in today. My basement flooded overnight due to the heavy rains and I need to stay home for emergency clean up and repairs. I should be available over email and phone later if needed. I’ll also come in early tomorrow to make up the time. Thank you for your flexibility, and please let me know if you need anything urgently completed today.
- Good morning. Wanted to let you know I can’t make it in today. I injured my back last night and can barely move this morning. Based on doctor’s orders, I need to take it easy for the next couple of days. Please let me know if there are any critical projects or meetings I should try to dial in for from home. I appreciate your understanding.
If your manager prefers email, follow similar principles: clear subject line, brief context, offer to help, thank them for understanding.
Sample Call Out of Work Emails
Subject: Calling in Sick
Wanted to let you know I’m home sick today with what seems to be food poisoning. I was hoping to recover enough to come in, but I am still very dizzy and nauseous.
Please let the team know I’ll need to reschedule today’s 2PM client meeting for later this week once I’m well. I should be able to hop on email this afternoon to keep outstanding projects moving. Please let me know if there is anything pressing I can provide support on from home.
I apologize for the late notice and disruption. Hoping to be back on my feet tomorrow.
Subject: Personal Leave
Good morning [name],
I am writing to request a personal day today due to a family medical situation that arose this morning. I need to be with my mother while she has an urgent doctor’s appointment and procedure.
I was scheduled to present at today’s staff meeting and meet with two clients. Please let me know the best way to reschedule these for later in the week when I am back in the office. I will follow up with presentation prep and client background tonight that can be forwarded to the rest of the team to allow the meetings to proceed.
Thank you very much for your flexibility and understanding. Please let me know if you need anything else from me today as I am able to work remotely between caretaking obligations.
How to Gracefully Call Out Sick from Work
Know the Protocol
Before reaching out, review your company’s guidelines for unplanned absences. Some key things to check for:
- Notification policies – How far in advance are you expected to notify them? Is there a cut-off time?
- Preferred communication – Are calls, texts, or emails acceptable?
- Required information – Do you need to provide a specific reason or doctor’s note?
Following the proper channels will ensure your call out goes smoothly.
Message the Right Person
Only contact the manager or supervisor who oversees your schedule directly. Do not loop in coworkers or HR yet – this prevents rumors from spreading.
Speak Sooner Than Later
Give notice as soon as reasonably possible. The earlier your manager knows, the more time they have to adjust plans.
- Ideal: The night before you know you’ll be out. This allows maximal time to prepare.
- Acceptable: By your normal start time at the latest on the day of. They can still reallocate your duties.
- Worst: Midway through the day or after your shift. Now you’ve left them high and dry.
Even if you have to text at 6 AM that you’re sick, it’s better than waiting until 10 AM when people expect you at meetings.
Keep Communication Clear & Direct
Whether emailing or texting, get right to the point quickly and transparently:
State you are taking a sick day or personal leave
Give a brief, truthful reason
Apologize for any late notice
Offer to help cover or reschedule your work if possible
Avoid rambling tangents and unnecessary details. You can elaborate if needed once you’re back.
The Relief Will Come
Calling out is never fun. But being prepared, communicating professionally, and offering to pull your weight remotely can leave both you and your manager feeling relieved. Make it clear you’re taking the day for essential reasons, not slacking off.
With the above tips, you can call out smoothly no matter how agonizing the initial awakening. Now go take care of yourself or your loved ones guilt-free. Your workplace will still be standing when you return.