The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Combating Absenteeism In The Workplace
Absenteeism at work is an issue whether employers like it or not. Employees inevitably will be absent from work be it for scheduled leave or unscheduled leave in the form of illness. Absenteeism of course equals financial costs for the employer but also it means there will be indirect costs too such as incomplete work and disgruntled co-workers who may resent taking on extra workloads.
Management need to put in place good procedures that will ensure that absenteeism does not become rampant in the organization. Employees can sometimes take advantage of lenient employers especially if the employer isn’t seen to ‘crack down’ on this kind of behaviour (if the absenteeism is deemed unnecessary or inappropriate).
Absenteeism isn’t just an issue for larger companies; it can be widespread in small to medium enterprises also. One employee missing from work in a small organization can spell a lot of extra stress for co-workers especially if they aren’t trained in a specific area or if they already have a heavy workload of their own. Of course the length of absenteeism makes a difference also as if a staff member is absent on a long terms basis, more steps need to be taken to ensure temporary relief is sought to cover the increased workload for those who remain.
This infographic from Softworks charts the interesting and at times startling statistics behind absenteeism at work. It defines some of the documented reasons for absenteeism with breakdowns for long and short terms absenteeism across the gender divide and it also gives some structured advice on dealing with the whole issue of absenteeism in the organization.
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A Guide To Limiting Workplace Absenteeism
Absenteeism in the workplace costs businesses an incredible amount of money each year, and some organization don’t even realize it. Here, we take a look at some of the facts, and some proven methods of limiting absenteeism.
- Figures from PWC indicate that in the UK, employees take an average of 9.1 days of unscheduled absence from work per year.
- Ireland has a rate of 6.4 days per employee.
- In the US, employees take 4.9 days.
- In Canada, absenteeism has risen from eight days per worker in 2010 to 9.1 days.
- In continental Europe, the figure stands at 7.3 days.
- In Asia the figure is 2.2 days.
- The cost of absenteeism to British businesses is estimated at £32 billion per annum.
- Absenteeism in Ireland is believed to be costing €1.5 billion per year, around €818 per employee.
- It is estimated that the direct costs of total paid time off as a percentage of payroll in the US stands at 8.1%.
- Studies indicate that on average co-workers are 29.% less productive when covering for an unplanned absence day.
- Supervisors were 15.7% less productive.
- 69% of study respondents indicated that unplanned absences added to workload.
- 61% suggested that it increased stress.
- 48% said that it hurts morale.
- 40% said that it reduces the quality of work.
|17%||Recurring Health Problems||20%|
|11%||Other Absences not due to Genuine Ill Health||7%|
CAUSES OF LONG TERM ABSENCE
|12%||Recurring Health Problems||12%|
|6%||Accidents Outside Work||10%|
|9%||Mental Ill Health||9%|
|3%||Accidents At Work||7%|
METHODS FOR COMBATING ABSENTEEISM
1. MONITOR EMPLOYEE ABSENCE RECORDS FOR PATTERNS
- 25% of organizations failed to keep absenteeism statistics.
- 75% do not have information on the cost of absenteeism to their business.
- Detailed, structured information is necessary in order to understand and solve the problem.
2. USE THE BRADFORD FACTOR
- This formula measures the number of incidences of absence and the duration of absence to compute an absence score for each employee.
- Indicates whether the overall absenteeism rate is caused by some employees suffering from long-term ill health, or a larger number of employees frequently absent for short periods.
3. INTERVIEW EMPLOYEES ON THEIR RETURN TO WORK
- Effective method of managing short-term absence.
- Used to reinforce the importance of a good attendance record.
- The interview should be used as a forum for discussing possible preventative solutions.
- Can be used to emphasize the value of the employee by demonstrating the impact that the individual’s absence has on colleagues.
4. STRIKE A BETTER WORK-LIFE BALANCE
- Flexitime and annualized hours are two methods of enabling employees to strike a more efficient work-life balance.
- It allows people to schedule appointments without having to take a full day off work.
- Companies such as British Telecom have experienced increase in productivity of 35-40% due to flexitime and telecommuting.
5. CONSIDER AN AUTOMATED TIME AND ATTENDANCE SYSTEM
- Provides organizations with evidence necessary to manage absenteeism issues.
- Stores details of hours worked by all employees.
- Provides details of when late, left early, or worked overtime.
- Report facilities provide analysis of absenteeism by rating, frequency, percentage, cost, and the Bradford Factor.