Friday, 1 July 2022

Ways to Reduce Absenteeism at Work

In any company, a certain amount of absenteeism is to be expected, owing to illness and occasional unforeseen events and emergencies. However, when staff aren’t turning up for work on a more regular basis, it can become a cause for concern, not only for the company but also for other employees. According to the World Health Organisation, the average number of sick days per employee, per year in the UK is 4.4 days.

What are the main causes of absenteeism?

There’s a whole host of reasons why employees might fail to show up for work, from illness to family matters. Some of the main causes of absenteeism are:

  • Minor illness
  • Mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and depression
  • Family issues or a bereavement
  • Paternity/maternity leave
  • Workplace bullying or issues with work colleagues
  • Serious illness or long-term illness
  • Unforeseen travel incidents such as traffic delays, bad weather or road accidents

As well as financially impacting the company, absenteeism can also have a negative effect on productivity, motivation levels and the overall culture of the business, as colleagues may need to take on extra workloads.

How to reduce absenteeism

In many cases it’s difficult to control the causes of absenteeism but there are some instances where management can help to reduce the number of absences by taking the following actions:

Improve employee engagement and motivation

By introducing wellbeing programmes into the business for personal development, organising social events inside and outside of the workplace, and ensuring the working environment is positive and inspiring, businesses can increase morale and staff engagement, which can lead to fewer sick days and a happier and healthier workforce.

Offer more flexibility

Flexible working hours and home-working opportunities can be of great benefit to parents with young children or employees who are caring for a relative, meaning they can enjoy a better work-life balance that will reduce any additional stress or anxiety.

Show concern for employees

It might seem like a trivial action but by reaching out to employees who are struggling with their mental or physical health or other personal issues, you can really make a difference. It’s important to talk regularly on a one-to-one basis to understand how the company can support them and make their role easier and more manageable.

Reward attendance

When employees are recognised and rewarded for good attendance, it not only keeps them motivated but it also incentivises others with a high level of absenteeism to improve their attendance. Perhaps organise an annual bonus, allow staff to finish work early for a day or present them with a gift.

Have procedures in place

It is common practice for management to conduct a return-to-work interview once an employee starts back at work after being absent. This is a great opportunity to discuss any significant issues with an employee and to also create a strategy for improving their attendance.

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