Absenteeism: How to Reduce it in the Workplace
Employees are the lifeblood of any successful organization. Without reliable people doing their job day in and day out, businesses suffer. In these work environments, it becomes more difficult for everyone in the organization to do their job. When employees routinely miss work outside of the occasional sick day or vacation day, this is what businesses call employee absenteeism.
Absenteeism can have a profoundly negative impact on organizations. Although it is an issue for some companies, it is something that can be reduced. And that’s exactly what we’ll discuss today. We’ll cover what absenteeism looks like and discuss five ways that you can reduce employee absenteeism in your organization.
What is Absenteeism?
Employee absenteeism is the chronic failure of an employee to report to and remain at work, regardless of the reason. Of course, no employee will show up to work every day without the occasional sick day or vacation — which is why it’s impossible to eliminate absenteeism completely. Often, there are perfectly valid reasons for employees to miss work from time to time. However, this becomes a problem when employees miss work on a consistent basis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that employee absences due to illness and injury cost US employers $225.8 billion annually. Yes, that’s billion with a “B!”
So, what can employers do to reduce absenteeism and make their employees want to come to work? Let’s talk about it.
5 Ways to Reduce Absenteeism
- Improve Employee Engagement
Employees who are less engaged on the job will look for ways to miss work. If your employees dread coming into the office, they’re probably more likely to be habitually absent. Help employees feel more connected to the organization by encouraging engagement. One way to do this is by bringing up engagement with your staff. Ask them their opinions and encourage them to share ideas. Make it a point to have regular team meetings where you can reiterate the company’s mission and ask for staff input. Communicating with employees reinforces the fact that their work is vital to the organization.
- Offer Vacation Days and PTO
Absenteeism is often the result of employee burnout. When employees are pushed to their limit, sometimes they just need a break. Offering adequate vacation days and paid time off (PTO) can help employees refresh themselves so that they don’t reach this point of burnout or exhaustion from work. Providing ample time off will help create a better work-life balance for employees and result in fewer unplanned absences.
- Offer Flexible Work Options
Flexible work options can allow employees to work remotely or outside the traditional 9-to-5 work schedule. While it may seem contradictory, many studies suggest employees who work fewer hours are actually more productive overall. Allowing employees to work during non-traditional hours or from home allows them to work when they are most productive. This is another step that can help work-life balance and decrease the chances of burnout.
- Introduce Employee Wellness Programs
Implementing employee wellness programs is an excellent way for organizations to show that they genuinely care about the people that make the company successful. Employee wellness programs can help reduce non-work-related stress that might also lead to absenteeism. Employees tend to feel more connected to the organization when they know their personal well-being is taken care of.
- Nurture a Positive Company Culture
If you are already taking the time to increase employee engagement and address employee wellness, congratulations! You’re fostering a positive company culture that will help employees feel like they are part of a team. As a result, they likely feel more personal accountability to do well and show up for work. A positive culture can also help you recruit and retain talented employees. It’s a win-win all the way around!
Life happens, so absenteeism can’t be eliminated entirely. However, there are many ways to reduce it. Using the practical methods covered in this article can help you reduce absenteeism. Not only will you improve your bottom line by reducing turnover and increasing productivity, but you will also make your employees happier and your organization a better place to work