Best Excuses for Every Situation at Work

We’re all making some excuse at work to get out of something or the other, even if it’s just to get out of a little scolding from your boss. Times when we arrive late, don’t meet our targets, or forget to do something that we were told 500,000 times, we need some space to improve and work on ourselves. It’s not always the intent to be mischievous, sometimes we mess up simply because we genuinely missed it, and this can be within reason. However, we need to be careful about how we’re being perceived in the office. Otherwise, your excuses may become the talk of the office and tarnish your image as a professional.

But don’t use excuses so often that you end up looking for a new job.

So, to save your back from all sorts of mistakes that you inevitably make, here’s a list of excuses you can use to get out of situations that you might be stuck in.

Reaching late to office

Here are some good excuses you can use to skip work that people can totally believe. Of course, some of them are subjective. For instance, to use the excuse: My babysitter called in sick – you need to have a child of your own. 

  1. “I can’t find my car keys, and I don’t have a spare set.”
  2. “My husband/wife accidentally turned off my alarm, and I didn’t wake up until noon.”
  3. “I was going to my car when I tripped on the stairs and hurt my back.”
  4. “I was ready and on my way when my building lift broke down.”
  5. “I have lost my wallet that had cash in it, on my way to the office. So, I had to go search for it”

This one’s brand new, brace yourselves!

6. “There’s police outside my neighbour’s house, and they’ve told everyone to remain inside until further notice.”

When you forget to return calls or emails:

  1. “I’ve just changed the settings on my work mail, and some emails ended up in the junk box: This one’s classic, and works like a charm.”
  2. “I left my phone on my cab to work, and I couldn’t call the driver because the phone was engaged on your call.”
  3. “I had my screen phone replaced last week by an unauthorised retailer, and the phone has locked me out.”

When You Want to Leave Work Early

These are the easiest and most tempting leaves from office. Sometimes you need it, too, if you’re too tired to work or not in the mindset to put in your 100%, it’s okay to step back. If you start leaving work early too often or coming in late for that matter, then it may leave a pattern which someone in your office is bound to notice:

  1. “I have a terrible headache/unbearable migraine/pounding backache.” Mention that the chatter and lights is making your pain worse.
  2. “My grandmother has suddenly fallen really ill. I need to go check in on her.”
  3. “My neighbor texted me that my dog is throwing up. I need to go home to take care of her.”
  4. “My sibling/parent/spouse/pet has a fever of 103, and I have to go home and take care of him/her.”
  5. “I just spilt hot coffee/tea on myself. I have to go to the emergency room and have the burns looked at. “For added impact, dampen your lower wear with some water.
  6. “I accidentally ate some food with shrimp/seafood/nuts/lactose in it, and I’m having an allergic reaction. I feel like I need to go to the doctor.”


And if you keep track of your excuses, you can actually use them to your benefit. Here are tips you can reuse and recycle excuses:

  1. If you have a flat tire on your way to work, take photos of the tyre from different angles. You can use this one incident three more times to save your butt.
  2. If you’re saying a relative passed away to avoid going to work, in the next week or so, you can take another day for “rituals and last rites.” (Fine. This is not our most professional list, but this is what you signed up for!)
  3. Tell your boss/manager/HR that someone rear-ended you on your way. A day or two later call in and tell them that your car engine is leaking fluid and you need to get it checked out.


Mind you, these excuses at work come at a price. Making these cutbacks too often will end up raising red flags in your profile. If you do these things in a short span, you can definitely expect a disciplinary call or meeting. That being said, if you’re conscious about how, when, and where you choose to use these excuses, there will be little or no consequence. So, be careful using these excuses and enjoy the freedom that follows.


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