In the first instance, absenteeism may not seem to be such a big deal and even seem inevitable because people get sick, need to attend to emergencies, and so on. But the problem arises when absenteeism becomes a regular occurrence, happening every month or even every week.
Simply put, what causes alarm is excessive absenteeism in the workplace. This phenomenon can be brought under control if the management pays good attention to their employees. Otherwise, there is a good chance of employee morale dropping and the employer’s bottom line getting affected.
How does absenteeism affect the workplace? Absenteeism is a serious issue, and a manager or employer must address it. This article is meant for employers and explores strategies to reduce absenteeism.
We will cover solutions for how to reduce absenteeism in the workplace. Employers looking for ideas regarding managing absenteeism in the workplace are in the right place.
Best Practices to Remedy Workplace Absenteeism
1. Announce an Attendance Policy
Make it a point to explain to employees about scheduled and unscheduled absences from work. When you put the expectations in writing, there is a good probability of employees following through with advanced intimation through calls, emails, or prior notification when they remain absent from work.
Further, bring out a disciplinary framework for habitual offenders so that there are consequences for remaining absent from work.
2. Track Attendance Closely
To ensure adherence to the attendance policy, put in place mechanisms that can track employee attendance at the individual level. This can be accomplished through automated systems like facial recognition, biometric authentication, or a time clock app. By keeping a close track of attendance, you are more likely to be ahead of any emerging pattern concerning employee attendance.
3. Return to Work Interviews
Established companies observe that conducting return to work interviews helps in reducing unscheduled absences from work by a large margin. This kind of arrangement provides a forum for both the employee and the manager to discuss the actual reasons for absence.
Once the concerns are discussed and verified, managers can extend all the help needed by the employee to mitigate the problem to the extent possible.
4. Enforce Policies Consistently
All the cases of absence from work need to be treated with consistency without any conflict while ensuring fairness. Treating each case on merit sends a broad message across the organization about the serious intent of the management when it comes to absenteeism. Moreover, always ensure the disciplinary action is implemented without delay depending on the reason for absence.
5. Create a Wellness Program
Office stress can be a major reason for exacerbating chronic conditions like heart ailments and other lifestyle diseases. To combat health-related absenteeism, create wellness initiatives that can reduce stress. Also, encourage employees to cultivate an excellent work-life balance with an optimum number of time-offs to recharge their batteries. Many studies have revealed that a break is extremely important for more engaged work.
6. Institute Work from Home Policies
Most often, employees remain absent from work for reasons other than sickness. It can be taking care of a loved one, following up with a doctor’s appointment, or attending a PTA meeting. In all such cases, offering the flexibility to the employee to work from home instead of remaining absent from work feigning sickness is a much better option.
In the long term, the employer is likely to have happier and more productive employees who remain highly engaged in their assigned job roles.
7. Create a Conducive Atmosphere
If your employee is likely to work long hours, ensure that the workplace offers a conducive atmosphere. Provide all employees with clean air, air-conditioning, ergonomic seating, and natural lighting. The workplace needs to be inviting enough to ensure the employee does not have second thoughts about spending long hours in the office environment.
8. Take an Empathetic Approach
While taking disciplinary action is required, always remember that we are dealing with complex human beings. Hence, it is better to treat them as individuals and show that you care for their problems.
As far as possible, create programs that can extend immediate help to employees when they need it the most. Dealing with absenteeism in this manner is likely to reinforce the employee-employer relationship.
9. Make the Employee’s Voice Heard
Create initiatives where employees can freely voice their opinions anonymously. Such mechanisms help decipher what the employee is going through and the most pertinent help that can be provided in such cases. Then, when you take measures towards remedying concerns, it shows you listen – which can have a ripple effect in reducing instances of absenteeism.
The article spells out both a tough and empathetic approach towards workplace absenteeism. It is always prudent for employers to treat each instance of absenteeism on a case-by-case basis. There could be genuine reasons for absence that need to be treated sensibly, while there may be cases of unexcused absence from work.
In each scenario, the employer must bring their experience and wisdom in dealing with the employees.