People Googled excuses to skip work over 2 million times this year amid return-to-office mandates, a nearly 1900% increase from 2020

People Googled excuses to skip work over 2 million times this year amid return-to-office mandates, a nearly 1900% increase from 2020
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  • Google searches for excuses to miss work hit over 2.2 million in 2022, up from just 112,400 in 2020.
  • Some of the top search terms in 2022 were "calling in sick" and "best excuses to miss work."

As employers start mandating a return to office, more employees are turning to Google for the "best" and "believable" excuses to miss work.

In 2022, there were 2,230,240 Google searches in the US for excuses to miss work, according to data analyzed by recruitment company Frank Recruitment Group. That's a massive 1884% spike from just two years ago in 2020, which saw 112,400 Google searches for excuses to miss work. Over a five-year span from 2018 to now, the firm saw a 630% increase in search volume for the most popular Google search terms about excuses to miss work.

"Calling in sick" was the most-searched term in 2022 of the 10 most popular searches over the past five years, followed by "excuse to miss work." In 2018, the researchers saw 305,590 searches, with "good excuses to miss work" as the top search term.

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The data shows searches made on Google in the US, and was collected using, according to the report. Researchers further determined the amount of searches each month between 2018 and 2022 using SEMrush, and the analysis used monthly, yearly, and cumulative numbers.

Most of the top 10 popular search terms include the term "excuses to/for missing work," but are lead by words like "best," "realistic," and "believable."


A spokesperson for Frank Recruitment Group told Insider the group doesn't have data on the top excuses people found as a result, but a recent Insider search for "best excuses to miss work" saw car or other accidents, personal illness, family emergency, and doctor's appointments as some of the first excuses to come up.

The number of searches dropped after 2018, with the lowest number of searches in 2020 at 112,400. But in 2021, the number jumped to 1,864,180.

Rowan O'Grady, president of Americas at Frank Recruitment Group, said in the report that seeing the searches "jump so drastically across the board in 2021 is definitely interesting."

"It seems to coincide with the beginning of the return to office, which tells us that this hasn't been the easiest transition for everybody," O'Grady said.

Employee working patterns and habits have been affected by the pandemic, O'Grady told Insider, adding that despite more calls for workers to return to the office, he's still seeing companies offer remote work and flexible hours to attract more talent — especially in the cloud technology space.


"Workers have become used to spending more time with their families and ditching the daily commute, so employers need to keep this in mind when they're asking employees to come back into the office," O'Grady said. "And with the Great Resignation and incredible movement of people in the jobs market, employees may look for companies who can offer more of what they want."

He also told Insider that the rise in monthly searches could also be a sign that "people have been more deeply affected by the pandemic and lockdowns than we may think."

Shané Teran, a wellness coach and organizational development strategist at SP Consulting, said in the report that employers are not giving enough "grace and understanding" to employees who are having to return to the office. Teran said this is leading "to a resolve of faking it but escaping by any means necessary."

"People are needing to take more time off in order to manage the long-lasting stressors that come with readjustment," Teran said, adding that employers are also readjusting, which can lead to higher workloads and an undersupported self-care culture.

Some companies like Goldman Sachs have pushed employees back to the office, arguing it's important for younger workers to come in. But data from office security firm Kastle Systems shows many employees are still reluctant to come back, with US office occupancy in at 49% as of October 17.