The rate of absenteeism has increased by 7% across the country since 2010. This costs businesses money and puts extra strain on the remaining people at work, who must pick up any outstanding work from the absent employee. And guess what? This causes more stress, lost productivity and in turn, increased absenteeism.
So how can you reduce workplace absenteeism and stop this spiral? With intelligent use of time and attendance data, refreshed policies and a healthy attitude towards absence.
1. Get your data sorted
The importance of accurate time and attendance data can’t be emphasised enough: ‘3 out of 5 organisations do not record absences properly, with up to 25% going unreported’. Without accurate information it’s almost impossible to see just what kind of impact absenteeism is having on your business. Without the data, you’re relying solely on managers and supervisors to notice trends and act on them, which can be incredibly difficult unless the employee in question is being very obvious about it.
With our software you can easily track employee attendance, getting real-time reports on who is (and isn’t) working on any given day. The system highlights absence anomalies and lets you know if anyone is habitually late in arriving, early in leaving or who takes longer breaks than they should be doing. From this, managers and HR teams can then have the right conversations with the employee in question to uncover the reasons behind the absences and see if changes need to be made to help them or if disciplinary action is necessary.
2. Send sick people home
Some employees think they’re showing dedication to their work when they drag themselves in even though they should clearly be at home resting. And some worry about missing work and the impact it will have. While well meaning, these employees are risking infecting their co-workers, resulting in further absences and more disruption.
If you run a reward scheme for employees who don’t take any days off – especially if it’s a monetary reward – it may be worth reviewing this as it can encourage presenteeism. The lure of a reward may be enough to bring people to work when they really should be at home recuperating.
3. Implement flexible working
Allowing people to work from home (if possible for their role) can save employees using sick days to deal with issues at home that arise. It can also help ease stress on the workforce as they aren’t having to make their daily commute – stress being another contributing factor to absenteeism that cost employers $3.48b a year.
The improvements in technology mean that teams can be spread across the globe and still be easily able to communicate with each other via video conferencing and messaging systems. It can be an invaluable system for families and those with caring responsibilities as it enables them to do their work while still being able to deal with life admin.
Improvements in clocking software mean that remote workers can clock in and out as easily as those on site, so people working from home can still accurately track the hours they work. Similarly, software can also be used to track time spent on jobs so that you can see if certain projects are taking longer than they should and take positive steps to fix this.
4. Fix your absence policies and processes
It’s easy to let policies drop off the radar and get hidden in HR manuals that may not always get seen by employees. Yet everyone needs to know about it and what the expectations are for them. It sounds obvious but checking if your absence policy is up to date and that all employees know where to find it is a quick win against absenteeism.
Periodically refreshing employees on the absence policies and procedures can be of a real help to a workforce, especially reminding them that sick days are to be used when genuinely needed and not as extra days of holiday. Setting expectations lets everyone know where they stand and can alleviate worry in those who need time off as they then know how to deal with it. It can also be helpful for managers and supervisors to know exactly what steps they need to take when dealing with absence and if they’re legally allowed to send employees home who are sick.
5. Encourage people to take holidays
There’s never really a good time to take holiday yet it’s so important that people make use of it. Regardless of when it’s booked off there will always be some planning required to account for the absent employee. But it’s easier to plan for an expected absence than an unexpected one.
Regular time off allows people to rest, recharge and switch off from the stresses of work. Using holiday time owed can help decrease unplanned absences too as ‘people who take more holiday time are known to not get sick as often’.
By using intelligent employee data and increasing flexibility you can really make the most of your employees’ time. This, combined with the rest of the above tips, can have a massive impact on the levels of absenteeism in your business. Ultimately, it’ll not only reduce your levels of absenteeism but help reduce costs and improve productivity, too.