Absenteeism isn’t a new workplace issue. And while sick leaves and holidays are guaranteed and justifiable, frequent absences from work without any relevant reasons can cause unexpected costs, ruin your employees’ productivity and morale and affect your brand image in the long run.
Absenteeism is easy to spot in the office; empty chairs and desks are quite telling. But how to spot employees who frequently miss coming to work in remote or hybrid environments when they’re out of sight?
Deploying a remote workers’ time tracking app in your workflow may be a good idea. This time and activity tracking tool will help you identify early warning signs when it comes to excessive absenteeism from work. You should invest in this advanced technology for numerous reasons. Here you’ll find out how costly excessive absenteeism can be and how time-tracking apps can help you identify and tackle this issue.
The Cost of Excessive Absenteeism
According to a Gallup survey on the topic that involved over 94,000 workers across 14 major industries, the total cost of lost productivity due to absenteeism was $84 billion annually.
The survey also shows that the costs of absenteeism depend on the industry, with professional occupations topping this list with $24.2 billion lost annually. Managers and executives follow with $15.8 billion, while office workers’ absenteeism results in $8.1 billion lost annually.
There are visible and underlying costs associated with frequent absenteeism. Here are the predominant ones:
- Salary for absent workers
- Replacement workers – either paying overtime to other team members or temporary hiring temporary employees
- Absenteeism management administrative costs
Besides these obvious costs, there are underlying costs of absenteeism that can seriously affect your business’s growth and profitability in the long run.
- Decreased product or service quality due to understaffing and fatigue
- Decreased productivity and employee engagement
- Excessive manager time spent in training and overseeing the work of substitute workers.
- Potential safety issues stemming from inadequately trained substitute employees rushing to finish incomplete tasks.
- Decreased morale of other employees who have to work more to fill in for absent colleagues.
How to Identify and Minimize Absenteeism
The problem with absenteeism is that it can be hard to spot, especially if you’re running remote teams. Secondly, you can’t easily determine whether the reason for absenteeism is justifiable or not. But, work time tracking Survey Software can help you solve a significant part of this problem showing you potential patterns in employee absenteeism.
This said, absenteeism doesn’t refer only to the situation when employees don’t show up for work. You can see that employees are prone to absenteeism if they start to work late or finish their shifts earlier. Or they may take numerous prolonged breaks during the day, chipping off their productive time. Luckily advanced time-tracking software can identify these behavioral patterns, and you can use tracking reports to address this issue, trying to find out reasons for this behavior and seek practical solutions to help your employees overcome this issue and get back on track with their work.
So what can you do to battle this invisible workplace issue, literally and metaphorically?
First, you need to make a culture shift focusing more on employees and their needs, taking care of their physical and psychological well-being, and helping them balance out their work and private life.
Focus on Mental Health
Employee mental health has become a focal point during the pandemic. Faced with numerous uncertainties and a severe health scare, employees needed to adapt to the changed circumstances that changed the workplace forever.
And while it’s a well-known fact that remote work offers increased work flexibility and autonomy, its downside is that many employees feel isolated and estranged from their colleagues. This feeling, paired with soaring anxiety, may cause serious mental health issues, including depression. And depression is a common reason for excessive absenteeism.
Numerous business leaders recognized the importance of employee mental health, offering one-on-one sessions with professionals to help their employees resolve their issues and become productive and engaged in their work again.
You may not invest in skilled professionals to tackle this problem, but you can create a psychologically safe work environment where every employee will feel free to talk about various problems knowing that they will be heard and their opinions will be appreciated.
Provide Enhanced Work/Life Balance
Remote work offered improved work-life balance. This is one of the indisputable benefits of this work model. Employees working from home can save the time they would otherwise spend commuting, finish their tasks, and dedicate more time to their beloved people or hobbies.
The flip side, however, is that the lines between work and private life may become blurred, especially when employees think they have to be available for work 24/7 to prove to their bosses that they actually work. This misconception can lead to overworking and, ultimately, burnout which can be the cause of excessive absenteeism.
You can use time tracking records to identify employees who stay after hours frequently being in danger of burnout. You can talk to your employees and prevent this serious condition by taking the following steps:
- Encourage your employees to respect fixed working hours, emphasizing that you don’t want or expect any work-related communication after the shift ends.
- Show your employees different time management techniques that can help them be more efficient and achieve more in less time.
- If you notice that they’re overwhelmed with the long list of tasks and projects in their pipeline, redistribute a portion of their workload to others with more free time on their hands.
Absenteeism is a serious workplace issue that costs the American economy billions of dollars annually. Employees have a guaranteed right to occasionally miss work due to justifiable reasons like illness, childcare, or to take care of personal affairs. On the other hand, excessive absence from work without valid reasons can be devastating to business profitability and efficiency, burdening the rest of the team additionally and causing employee morale and engagement to plummet.
If you want to avoid these dire consequences of excessive absenteeism, start by identifying employees prone to excessive absenteeism and find out their reasons for this behavior. This can be a challenging task because this negative workplace trend isn’t easily discernable, especially in remote teams. Luckily you can rely on remote workers’ time tracking apps to record employees’ time and attendance and discover potential early signs of deliberate absenteeism in your employees’ behavior like taking prolonged breaks, starting late and leaving early, and so on.
Once you identify the reasons for excessive absenteeism in your company, you can battle this alarming issue by focusing more on employees’ mental health, improving their work/life balance, and offering more flexible schedules to meet their needs.
By taking these specific steps, you may diminish or eliminate the negative effects of excessive absenteeism, making your employees more productive, engaged, and satisfied with their work and keeping your business afloat.
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