People at the workplace

The scope of absenteeism is often underlooked by managers. However, in the long term, many employers will start to wonder ‘how absenteeism affects the business’ when looking at its devastating consequences. Unfortunately, many people do not realize how damaging absenteeism can be for business performance and morale within the company. While the issue may remain unnoticed for quite some time, do not think that it does not exist. Absenteeism can slowly decrease the level and quality of work within your company. To give you a better idea about how to manage this issue, in this article, we will discuss how absenteeism affects business.

What is absenteeism?

Absenteeism describes the behaviour when an employee is absent from work without an acceptable excuse. Absences such as family or personal emergencies and sick days do not fall into this category. Companies usually expect a certain level of absence from the employees. However, when absence becomes regular without objective reasons, it can be a problem.

In the worst-case scenario, employers have to deal with chronic absenteeism, which means that an employee is absent from work consistently. Usually, this type of behaviour leads to termination of employment.

What are the causes of absenteeism?

While absenteeism describes the behaviour when an employee misses work without company-accepted reason, it does not mean that absenteeism is baseless. Quite often, the company is partially responsible for absenteeism.

Sometimes, employees find it hard to be at work, and it can be the employer’s fault. We have to admit that managers can be wrong very often, and they may cause workplace deviant behaviour.

The most common causes of absenteeism include:

  • Harassmentemployees that are often bullied and harassed usually find it difficult to come to work. This can lead to frequent absences. When dealing with harassment, you need to consider the involvement of different parties. Employees can be harassed by their supervisors or executives. Also, they may be bullied by their peers. These two cases will need to be dealt with in different manners.
  • Stress and Burnout – when employees find the work stressful they tend to escape from it. Workers who have experienced burnout simply have no willingness to be present at their workplace.
  • Mental illness employees with mental illness may be absent from work from time to time. The challenge with this cause is that often employees are not comfortable discussing these issues at work. Creating a safe environment and having sincere communication about mental well-being may be a good solution in this case. Employees will feel safer at their work, and whenever they need sick days, they will be more inclined to provide the reason for it rather than come up with different reasons, which is often the case.
  • Conflict – strong disagreement with superior managers or other team members can be one of the causes of absenteeism. If the issue is not addressed on time, it will only result in more absences and unresolved problems.

Overall, the list shows that there can be fair reasons behind absenteeism. If the employee has missed a lot of workdays, it does not necessarily mean that they do not care or are negligent. As a manager, you must analyze the reason behind this type of behaviour and proceed accordingly.

How does absenteeism impact business?

Even when absence is due to a legitimate reason, it is still a cost for a company. Since the costs caused by absenteeism are not easy to track, managers have a hard time understanding the scale of this issue.

The most apparent effect of absenteeism can be shown through the salaries. If employees are still reimbursed for their missed time, you are basically paying for nothing. The work that you usually pay for is not delivered; therefore, you have a loss. Through missed hours, you can pinpoint the productivity loss and even calculate the monetary damages to your company.

Consequences of absenteeism:

  • Decreased productivity
  • Increased costs
  • Lower quality of work
  • Damages to corporate culture and morale
  • Increased overtime for other employees

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How do you reduce absenteeism at work?

As a manager, you can successfully decrease the level of absenteeism. The key is understanding the reasons and causes of absenteeism. If you can get your hands on this information, then you can develop different techniques to decrease the number of missed days annually.

More specifically, you can try following these tips to decrease absenteeism:

Incentives – implement different incentives to encourage attendance at work. You can create a reward for perfect attendance.

Workplace flexibility – offer your employees flexible working hours. If the job description gives the opportunity to customize workdays, then go ahead with this technique. It will boost the motivation of your employees and they will have less reason for being absent. Additionally, offer a hybrid model – allow employees to work from home if possible.

Create a safe environment for employees – more specifically, you can start an open conversation with employees about the issues they are facing at work. Create an atmosphere where they feel safe to share their honest thoughts and ideas. This is an especially good method for dealing with employees with mental health issues. If they can share their issues with you can be more understanding and supportive.

Lead by example – be the first to set the example for your team.

Offer mental health support. Digital mental health providers like SupportRoom offer flexible mental health support for employees in the form of online therapy, self-help tools, and wellbeing monitoring. It also provides leaders with the opportunity to track what’s happening in the workplace and see where employees’ main stressors come from. When you put your employees’ mental health first, your organisation will start thriving.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, absenteeism is a huge issue. However, it is still manageable. You will not solve this problem by 100%, but you can decrease it so that it has less impact on your business. If absenteeism is not manageable, then be bold and take disciplinary action. You want to be supportive, but you should not condone irresponsible behaviour that goes against company policy.

Also, remember that mental health directly impacts absenteeism. Get in touch with SupportRoom and start improving workplace mental health today.

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