How to Text Your Boss That You Can’t Come In: 10 Examples

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Navigating the delicate task of texting your boss about your absence can be challenging. To help you craft the perfect message, we’ve gathered 10 expert examples from professionals such as community managers, CEOs, and career experts. From keeping it professional and respectful to a being clear with your reasoning, these examples will guide you in communicating your absence professionally and effectively.

1. Keep it Professional and Respectful

When notifying your boss that you are unable to come to work, it is important to maintain a professional and respectful tone while clearly conveying the situation. For example: "Good morning, [Boss’s Name]. I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to come to work today due to unforeseen circumstances. I have developed a sudden illness and need to prioritize my health and recovery. I understand the inconvenience this may cause and apologize for any disruption to the team. I will promptly provide any necessary updates and arrange for coverage of my responsibilities. Thank you for your understanding and support. Best regards, [Your Name]." This approach demonstrates professionalism, respect, and accountability. It communicates the reason for absence without providing unnecessary details, expresses regret for any inconvenience caused, and assures the boss of your commitment to handling responsibilities and keeping them informed.

Shane McEvoy, MD, Flycast Media

2. Remember Formality and Courtesy

"Good morning, [Boss’s Name]. I regret to inform you that I am unable to come to work today due to [reason]. I understand this may be an inconvenience, and I have taken the necessary steps to ensure the tasks associated with my role are still completed on time. I apologize for any disruption this may cause and if there is anything you need me to do from home, please let me know. Thank you for your understanding. Sincerely, [Your Name]"

Roksana Bielecka, Community Manager, ResumeHelp

3. Use the Responsible Approach

I try to be upfront and professional, even when sending an unexpected text to cancel a session. Here’s an example: "Hi, [Boss’s Name]. I hope this message finds you well. Unfortunately, I woke up not feeling well, and it looks like I’ve come down with a bad flu. In the interest of everyone’s health, I think it’s best if I take the day off to recover. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused. I’m happy to help coordinate with my clients for rescheduling today’s sessions. Thank you for understanding." I believe it’s essential to show responsibility even when you’re not at your best, and this way of messaging allows you to do just that.

Evander Nelson, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, Evander Nelson SEO & Content Marketing

4. Adjust Message Based on Relationship

For a more professional relationship, be respectful while still conveying your message: "I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but I’m not feeling well today and won’t be able to make it into the office. Is there anything I can do remotely to help out?" That said, if you have a more personal relationship, something along the lines of, "Hey, I’m feeling under the weather and don’t think it’s a good idea for me to come into work today," might be more appropriate. Regardless of how you phrase it, make sure to express your regret and ask if there’s anything you can do from home.

Gabriel Bogner, Co-founder, Mate Fertility

5. Provide the Message Ahead of Time

It’s important that you remain cordial and professional. Additionally, you should clearly explain your issue, and refrain from using abbreviations or acronyms that your boss may not be familiar with. You should also be sure to alert them of your absence at least a couple of hours ahead of time, if possible. Your message could look something like this: “Hey, [Boss’s Name]. I hope all is well with you. I wanted to let you know that unfortunately, I will not be able to make it into work today, due to [reason, plus a supporting sentence or two, if warranted]. I apologize for the inconvenience. I will certainly explain further upon my return tomorrow, and will be sure to catch up on any necessary tasks in the meantime."

Saad Alam, Co-founder & CEO, Hone Health

6. Include Necessary Details

"Hi, [Boss’s Name]. I’m really sorry but a personal emergency has come up and I won’t be able to make it to work today. I’ve handed over my tasks to [Coworker’s Name] to ensure everything keeps moving smoothly. I really appreciate your understanding. I will not be able to check my emails, but you can call me on my cellphone if something can’t be solved without me."

Juliet Dreamhunter, Founder, Juliety

7. Avoid Excuses or Irrelevant Explanations

"Hey, [Boss’s Name]. I can’t make it to work today. Sorry for the short notice." This should be all that you put into the text to let your boss know that you can’t make it. Don’t make excuses or provide explanations unless it is specifically relevant to your work. You do not owe your employer an explanation for why you’re using a PTO or sick day. You can answer questions to be polite, sure, but anything beyond the above is you doing your employer a favor.

Onno Halsema, CEO, Contentoo

8. Apologize and Take Accountability

Include an apology. You do not have to go overboard, but you should find a way to let your boss know that you understand the impact of your not being able to complete your professional obligations for the day. For example, you could say: "I am happy to make up for any work I missed when I return." This way, your boss will see that you take responsibility for your role and its importance, no matter what else life throws at you.

Natalia Morozova, Partner, Cohen, Tucker & Ades, PC

9. Address the Tasks That are Covered

"Hello, [Boss’s Name]. I’m going to need to take a personal day today. I was working on [tasks or projects], which will need someone to cover them while I am away." Making sure that you include what needs to be covered in your absence is a really helpful bit of info to include in the text you send your boss when you’ve got to take a bit of unexpected leave. Many times this is something that will already be known, but it provides peace of mind to have it confirmed and covered rather than guessing.

Dragos Badea, CEO, Yarooms

10. Be Clear with Your Reasoning

Typically, when you are notifying your boss of an absence from work the day of, it’s due to illness, a family emergency, or an unforeseen occurrence out of your control. Maintain a formal tone in your text message and be clear about the reason for your unplanned absence. This will build trust between you and your boss. "Hi, [Boss’s Name]. I want to apologize for this last-minute text message, but I woke up feeling unwell, and I will have to take a sick day today. However, I’ve already reached out to [Coworker’s Name], who has agreed to cover my time-sensitive tasks in my absence. I hope to be feeling better after some rest and able to work tomorrow. I will confirm my status with you before my shift starts tomorrow." Being proactive in arranging how your time-sensitive tasks or shifts will be covered in your absence will go a long way with your supervisor.

Liz Hogan, Career Expert, Find My Profession

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