Any business on a given day will have ‘n’ number of employees missing from work. This is par for the course, all employers are prepared for a certain number of absentees. There are rules and regulations in place for taking days off.
The problems arise when employees make a habit of being absent without informing. The problem exacerbates if a large number of employees start being absent from work, some who are officially off and others who have just suddenly decided to be absent from work.
Employee absenteeism is defined as the frequent absence of an employee without any prior notice.
Every company has policies in place for emergencies and such, but the basic fact is you need to inform, even after the fact.
According to Circadian, the cost of unscheduled absences amounts to up to $3600/year for each hourly employee and appx. $2500/year for regular salaried employees.
People who take off frequently or stroll into the office at their convenience affect the morale of the company and its employees, lead to loss of productivity and reflect badly on the culture of the place.
Unscheduled absences from work affect both the employers and the employees.
For the employees, it affects their workflow. The others in the team have to pick up the slack of frequent absenteeism.
Crucial work may get stuck, if that person has the skill or the knowledge to see it through.
For the employer, the production and resource cost goes up.
It heightens employers’ liabilities in the form of additional labor costs to cover up the lost productivity due to the absent employees’ missed work hours.
The absentee loses money, his credibility and might even end up losing her job.
So how does one handle these frequent days off by employees?
One way would be to give them the marching orders. But before that, a good management needs to find out the reason for the absenteeism and what can be done to overcome this.
Transformational Managers to handle employee disconnect
One way of handling it is to have managers approach the problem. British researchers found that transformational leaders and managers, who put time and effort into knowing the employees personally, are well-equipped to handle employee absenteeism.
Such managers are supportive and themselves have a very strict work ethic that is held up as an example to emulate and are generally well respected in the organization.
When an effort is made to connect with employees beyond the professional front, then it builds a rapport and opens up communication.
Transformational managers work to transform the culture and build a workspace where every member can thrive together. And for that to fructify, employee engagement is essential.
For most parts, an employee finds excuses not to attend office regularly is because there is disconnect with the work they are doing. There is dissatisfaction with the job, the boss, colleagues or even the project where their role is undefined or unappreciated.
Ways to handle the disconnect
- The way to circumvent these disaffections is by keeping all channels of communication open and promoting a culture of transparency.
- Try to promote a culture of where employees are free to ideate and innovate
- There is minimal management.
- Teams are encouraged to work cohesively and collaborate.
Once a culture of responsibility and openness is there, employee engagement increases.
Another reason for employee absenteeism can be low morale.
A negative work culture is the most prevalent cause. A work culture where team members don’t get along or respect each other is unproductive and unhealthy. Team activities and respect for the work of others can help improve morale.
Some other reasons for employee absenteeism are:
- Lack of a Flexible Work Schedule
Employees have social and personal commitments to carry out; if there is no flexibility at work, then they are forced to take off to follow up on these responsibilities. If employers are open to a flexible schedule, then unwanted absences can be handled for mutual benefit.
- Workplace Burnout
Burnout is one of the major reasons for ill-performance displayed by the employees. This mostly occurs when employees are subjected to rigorous working conditions without any spare time.
- Substance Abuse
This is something that is prevalent but rarely discussed. Employees succumb to some addiction due to personal or professional reasons. Stress is often quoted as the reason for turning to some form of substance abuse to help to tackle it.
- Long innings at the workplace
When employees have been a part of the organization for a long time, they get accustomed to its operations. Some feel their seniority gives them the leeway to not be too diligent about the rules. They become lax about timings and clocking into work.
- Workplace Harassment
Workplace harassment is quite a common cause of employee absenteeism. Harassment is mostly in the verbal form and hurts the employees’ emotional and mental health.
A good way to tackle all the issues above is to have regular feedback from the employees. Ge the managers to touch base with the people who are taking off from work and find out the reasons. If it is about workplace situations, then an amicable solution can be found.
If it is a personal issue as in a medical emergency, childcare, or something similar, then the manager can chalk out a flexible schedule.
If it is because of workplace bullying, then the employee themselves should take recourse to the grievance cells. It is incumbent on the business to have such channels open, where employees can take his or her problems without the fear of repercussions.
This will boost their confidence and discourage their absence from work.