Employee absenteeism can be a tricky situation to navigate. Employees may have very legitimate reasons for being absent, or they may have somewhat lacking rationales. How do you know which is which, and how do you respond?
Our HR experts have put together this guide to help you navigate through absenteeism. Keep reading to find out what absenteeism is, its effect on the workplace, how to handle it within your organisation, and how to reduce absenteeism.
What is work absenteeism?
Of course, all employees are away from work for portions of the year, whether for a holiday, maternity or paternity leave, sickness, or personal time/mental health days. Work absenteeism, therefore, does not refer to these absences but rather to absences that extend beyond what would be considered reasonable and customary.
Why is absenteeism a problem?
Absenteeism is a problem for a few reasons. For one, it has the potential to bring down team morale, as one or more employees taking more time off than the rest can be seen as unfair and frustrating for those who do come into work. In addition to this, absenteeism negatively affects productivity and costs your company money.
There are a number of possible causes of absenteeism, some of which are more understandable and legitimate than others. Let’s take a look at the most common causes of extended absences:
- Childcare and eldercare: If your employee has children or parents who require care, they may be forced to stay at home when usual arrangements fall through. For example, if their little ones’ kindergarten is shut down because of a rampaging lice infection, they may have no other option than to stay at home.
- Disengagement or lack of motivation: If your employee lacks motivation and engagement, they may simply choose to not come in on certain days.
- Job hunting: Your employee may be taking time out of their job to look for another and go on interviews.
- Workplace bullying and harassment: An employee may be facing harassment or bullying at work and may feel unsafe or uncomfortable coming into work in these conditions.
- Commuting issues: If there is a problem with public transportation or traffic, it may be challenging to get to work on time. In extreme cases, employees may not be able to get to work at all.
- Depression and stress: A major cause of absenteeism can be depression and stress. If an employee suffers from depression, it can be difficult to find the motivation to go to work.
How do you monitor absenteeism?
With Natural HRs’ easy-to-use software, keeping track of absenteeism is simple. Just log in the information, and it will take care of the rest. Our software can keep track of everything for you, and you can quickly and easily create charts and tables to express the data.
How do you respond to employee absenteeism?
It can be very difficult for employers or HR staff to deal with absenteeism, as there are legitimate reasons and poor excuses for absences. A company may require a doctor’s note for sickness or proof of excuses. But this can be difficult to monitor as well as unpleasant for the sick or struggling employee and can end up producing low morale.
A more proactive approach would be to focus on employees’ mental, physical and environmental health. There are plenty of simple ways to support employee wellbeing. And since happier, healthier employees are more productive and more likely to come into work, this is a great option to reduce absenteeism.
Another option for reducing absenteeism is to allow and support remote working. Even if it is for a few days of the week, allowing employees to work from home mitigates half of the prevailing reasons for absenteeism. While this is not an ideal solution for all companies, if done right, it can have excellent benefits for employees and your business alike.