Employees are vital for any growing business. They directly impact its success or lack thereof. Frequent absences can take their toll on your business’s profits by impacting both morale and productivity. The performance of a team goes downhill if all members are not present. The remaining employees have to shoulder the burden; this is not always fair to them, and they know this. This is why learning more about the causes and effects of an employee’s absenteeism can help, so read on to learn more.
Mental Health Issues
The truth is that absences are not solely caused by physical afflictions. A large portion of absences is caused by mental health issues, especially anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, this is often outside of both your control and the control of the sufferer too. That being said, there are some things that you can do. First, develop a culture of kindness and support in the workplace. Let your employees know that they can talk to you if they are struggling without being penalised. You should always encourage them to strive towards a better work-life balance to help manage their symptoms.
A Lack of Flexibility
Sometimes, flexible working hours are a necessity. Your employees have other responsibilities that need to take precedent at times. Their personal responsibilities have to come first, and this can lead to absences. For example, a lack of childcare might mean that an employee needs to take some time off. Perhaps they need to attend a doctor or dentist appointment. In cases like these, a more flexible approach to working can come in handy. Can your employee work from home for a day or make the lost time up at a later date? Consider taking a more flexible approach to work. If they are getting their work done, it becomes less important when they do that work.
A Hostile Work Environment
Absenteeism is sometimes the result of employees trying to avoid something or someone in the workplace. Some employees experience bullying, and others simply feel left out. When an employee doesn’t feel safe and comfortable in the workplace, they don’t want to be there, hence the absences. Think about the culture within your workplace. Is it positive and inclusive? Do your best to work towards creating a better environment and implement a zero-tolerance policy on bullying, intimidation, and offensive behaviour. Your employees’ safety and comfort should be a priority for you.
Low Employee Engagement & Morale
Employee engagement and motivation is vital for the success of your business. Employees who are engaged, want to work, or have something to achieve are much more likely to have higher levels of attendance. Employees who feel more connected to their workplace and the purpose of the business are much more likely to perform than those that lack that connection. Low levels of engagement lead to absences because employees simply don’t care enough about their roles.
In addition to low engagement, low morale also often has a significant effect on absenteeism. When morale is low, tensions often rise, employees feel more stressed, and motivation hits an all-time low. For whatever reason, employees may not respect management or feel that they aren’t respected enough by the management. Workers who feel like this simply don’t want to go to work, meaning that absences tend to rise.
Genuine Illness & Injury
Obviously, there is nothing much that you can do about this. But ideally, this should be the only cause of absences among your staff. It is to be expected, and your employees need and deserve time off to recover. The issues arise when your employees do not communicate these needs to you. For example, if you are not aware of how long they plan to be off for or how long you need to find cover. As part of your absence policy, you should detail the communication requirements surrounding sickness.
Hunting for Other Jobs
Finally, the last reason your employees may be absent from work is that they are looking or interviewing for another job. If they have plans to leave the role anyway, they are much more likely to take leave and not care about the consequences. They tend to cite illness or injury, or they may be away in general. Employees want to leave a job for a number of reasons, but often those reasons have a significant crossover with the reasons behind absences. This means that working on improving your company’s process surrounding absences and increasing employee engagement and morale can not only lessen absences but also improve employee retention.
The Effects of Absenteeism
High rates of absenteeism can have a lot of effects within the workplace. The most significant effect is arguably the amount of money that absenteeism can cost a business. Money has to be spent to find cover for the workers. There may also be lost revenue or delays in processes. However, absenteeism has a number of other effects too.
It has an effect on the employees that are left behind. They are required to pick up the slack. This means an increased workload and maybe even working overtime too. The increased strain on the other employees can lead to burnout, which takes a toll on productivity and can lead to more absences. The employee off sick is also more likely to be less productive. This can hamper a business’s bottom line when it takes longer to complete tasks and produce results.
Absenteeism can also take its toll on the management team. They have to deal with increased expenses and a dip in productivity. It can be incredibly frustrating to deal with the effects of the absences, and the absences themselves require more admin, which can take up a lot of time unless you have a good system in place.
For example, myhrtoolkit has a number of tools designed to make managing HR easier. They have absence management software, employee holiday trackers, and training management tools; they also have some great resources on their blog, including a post about reducing absenteeism. When the frustrations that absences cause are left to fester, you might witness more conflict between employees and management. This can often make the whole situation worse, leading to more absences, and the cycle begins again.
Finally, absences can also affect your consumers. The lack of manpower and reduced productivity will affect your products or services; it is inevitable. If your consumers have a bad experience with you or your products, then you are less likely to get their repeat business. As a result, your reputation will suffer, and you will lose sales and money.
In The End
Absenteeism has more than just a monetary effect. As seen above, frequent employee absences can have a detrimental effect on a business. In addition, it can impact profits, job satisfaction in the workforce, and even affect consumers too. The truth is that it is unrealistic to believe that you can eliminate employee absences in their entirety but, by learning more about the causes behind absences, you can offer your employee the support that they need. This then naturally lowers the rate of absences among staff. That being said, there will always be factors beyond your control; you need to remember that your employees have their own lives too.