The office Christmas party is a highly anticipated annual event in the calendar, with workers across the nation using it as a chance to get dressed up and let their hair down with colleagues.

But, what happens when it all goes a little too far, and colleagues are left embarrassed by their antics or too hungover to make it into work the next day?

A new survey of 1,000 UK workers, conducted by the UK’s largest indoor go-karting company TeamSport looked into the best, worst and the simply bizarre excuses UK workers have made when calling in sick the day after the office Christmas party.

Of those who admitted to calling in sick, a staggering 60% admitted it was because they were simply too hungover.

Interestingly, the reasons for calling in sick were very different for male and female respondents. Women didn’t want to attend work the next day, as they had embarrassed themselves at the party (12% versus 6% of men), or they argued with a colleague (10% versus 6% of men). Whereas, for the men, they felt they needed time to recharge their batteries (23% versus 14% of women) or they didn’t want to face work commitments such as meetings (6% versus 2% of women).

The actual stories used to explain to the boss why they couldn’t come in that day included being stricken down with food poisoning (16%), feeling sick (11%), a sudden case of a stomach bug (5%) and a broken down car (3%).

Other amusing excuses included:

  • “I forgot to put the washing machine on, I’ve no clean clothes”
  • “I won’t be able to make it to the office this morning, I’ve bruised my brain”
  • “Sorry I can’t come in today. I’ve swallowed a spider”
  • “I won’t be in the office today; my ears are sore from the music at the party last night”

The report also considered the differences between industries, highlighting the worst culprits for calling in sick. These were:

  • Information technology (24%)
  • Business, consulting and management (19%)
  • Creative arts and design (18%)
  • Property and construction (12%)
  • Engineering (12%)

However, other sectors were keen to attempt work the day after. Marketing and PR, along with HR and Recruitment, reported only 3% of employees calling in sick.

It seems that workers in the property and construction industry are the most promiscuous, with nearly one in three (29%) admitting to getting intimate with a colleague at the party, and this being the reason they didn’t want to face work the next day.

With a thriving, 24 hour nightlife, it’s no surprise that workers in the capital were the biggest offenders for calling in sick, (17%), followed by the West Midlands (13%) and the North West (13%).

Dominic Gaynor, managing director of TeamSport Indoor Karting said: “Our research into the best and worst excuses for calling in sick is rather amusing. It’s particularly interesting to take a look at the differences between each industry.

“It can be difficult to drag yourself out of bed the day after a huge work party, and that’s why we’re encouraging businesses to consider other ways to celebrate Christmas with their employees. Exciting days out such as a day at the go-karting track are not only great team-building exercises, but they’re also really fun. Plus, avoiding a party fuelled by alcohol means there is less opportunity for workers to come up with these bizarre excuses and call in sick.”