In the modern workplace, absenteeism is a problem that plagues many companies. While not all businesses face the challenges of absenteeism, it’s become a growing concern for employers since the pandemic.
Employee absenteeism can be pricey for businesses of all sizes because it costs well over thousands of dollars per person annually. If you’re concerned about employee absenteeism, it’s important to understand why it happens and how you can prevent it by prioritizing their health.
How Does Absenteeism Impact the Workplace?
In the workplace, absenteeism can be a major problem. It can directly affect your team and may lead to negative outcomes for your company:
- It can have a direct impact on productivity. If you have employees who often miss work for personal or family reasons, this will harm their ability to do their job well, affecting your company’s bottom line.
- Absenteeism may cause other employees to take on more responsibility than they should. If a team member is often out due to personal reasons, other people may end up doing extra work. This can lead to resentment among coworkers and reduce morale overall.
- Missed days reduce employee engagement with their work. If employees feel like they’re not allowed to do good work — due to picking up someone else’s slack — they’ll likely feel less motivated.
What Are the Causes of Employee Absenteeism?
There are many reasons why employees are off from work, including the following:
- Illness: This is the most common cause of absenteeism, especially during flu season. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are even more likely to call off.
- Injury: Common injuries, like back and neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fractures and strains, can cause prolonged injuries.
- Burnout and stress: Due to heavy workloads and tight schedules, many workers feel mentally and physically exhausted and are stressed or burnt out as a result.
- Depression: Mental illness can lead to absenteeism for various reasons. It leads to fatigue or difficulty concentrating, making it challenging to complete tasks. It also impacts self-esteem, which can lead employees to decide they don’t have the strength or motivation to go to work.
- Harassment: Sexual harassment, racial discrimination and bullying cause an employee to miss work due to abusive treatment from other workers.
- Child or eldercare arrangements: When a child or elderly family member is sick, or their caregiving arrangements fall through, employees are likely to miss work because of this.
Another source that leads to employee absenteeism can be poor indoor air quality. For instance, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be the cause and seriously impact a worker’s health and well-being.
VOCs are a variety of chemicals often used in paint, adhesives and solvents and can cause poor indoor air quality, leading to respiratory problems and other health issues. While this isn’t a common issue, it is one that employers easily miss because it can take years before the harm is done.
How Can Employers Reduce Absenteeism in the Office?
When it comes to employee health, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, there are plenty of ways that employers can prioritize employee health to reduce absenteeism. Consider leveraging the following tactics below.
Implement Health and Stress Management Training Programs
One way to do this is by implementing a health and stress management training program. These programs teach participants how to recognize the signs of stress and manage their reactions to stressful situations.
Another benefit of these programs is that they give employees the tools to be more productive at work without sacrificing their personal lives or health. The result? Employees who are happier, healthier and better rested are less likely to miss work!
Promote Workplace Wellness
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to promote workplace wellness and reduce employee absenteeism. Here are five ways that you can promote workplace wellness and reduce employee absenteeism:
- Encourage employees to take breaks throughout the day
- Provide onsite health services, such as physical therapy or massage therapy.
- Offer paid time off options so employees can schedule time off when they need it most.
- Provide free and healthy food in the office kitchen.
- Have an open-door policy so employees feel comfortable coming in whenever they need help.
Offer Flexible Schedules
For many employees, the inability to work from home or on a flexible schedule is one of the most stressful parts of their job. This stress can lead to absenteeism and, ultimately, lower productivity.
To avoid this issue, companies should offer flexible working arrangements for their employees. This can take many forms, such as allowing employees to work from home for part of their week or allowing them to attend meetings remotely using video conferencing tools.
Keep Track of Employee Absences
Keeping track of employee absences is a great way to reduce absenteeism in the workplace. When employers monitor these levels, they can analyze patterns of absences and understand each employee’s call-off history.
When employers better understand why employees are missing work, they can make changes to do something about it.
Reduce Absenteeism in the Workplace
Investing in employee health is the best way to reduce absenteeism and increase workplace productivity. It also shows employers care about their staff, which increases overall morale, satisfaction and retention. Best of all, the entire company benefits when it prioritizes employee health and wellness.
Written by Jane Marsh.
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