Parental and sick leaves are guaranteed employees’ rights. Illnesses and injuries are unwanted but real-life circumstances to face and overcome and most employers understand this. But what if absenteeism from work becomes so frequent that it affects your employees’ morale and productivity causing extensive expenses? 

And this is what’s happening in the post-Covid era when absenteeism became a growing phenomenon that can have significant effects on your business. According to a report, the absenteeism rate in the United States was 2.9% in 2018. to rise to 3.2% in the private sector and 3.5% in the public sector during 2021. In Europe, the absenteeism rate soared from 3% in 2018. to 6% in 2021.

Excessive absenteeism can have numerous negative effects on your business starting with reduced productivity and increased costs for paying overtime work of employees covering for a colleague.

To address this serious problem, you need to identify its causes and assess the unwanted costs before seeking practical solutions. Luckily you can always rely on attendance-tracking software to identify employees prone to absenteeism and look into reasons for this behavior.

excessive absenteeism
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Most Common Causes of Absenteeism

Since absenteeism can have detrimental effects on your budget and employee productivity alike, try to spend some time investigating the underlying causes of this workplace phenomenon. Here is a short list of the most common reasons for not appearing for work.

  • Employee burnout
  • Disengagement from work
  • Alcohol and substance abuse accompanied by depression
  • Short-term disability caused by illness, injury, and personal or family medical leave

The report also states that the health sector in France has the highest absenteeism rates, while 40% of Canadian workers tend to be out of work for 1 to 6 days due to depression. The numbers also show that absenteeism rates in Great Britain are highest in caregiving, leisure, and other service-based industries.

The Costs of Excessive Absenteeism

Increased absence from work may cause numerous direct and indirect expenses. You have to pay for overtime work and compensate absent workers while experiencing a productivity and morale decrease. At the same time, you shouldn’t ignore the indirect effects of this phenomenon like safety issues leading to accidents, and poorer quality of goods and services causing customer satisfaction rates to drop.

Forbes research on the topic found that costs of unplanned absence from work for employees on fixed salaries are about $2,600, and $3,600 for paid-per-hour employees each year. 

Besides these evident costs, loss of productivity and employee motivation causing diminished company profitability are significant underlying factors that can seriously damage your brand image and success. 

This said The Bureau of the US labor statistic shows that companies lose about 2.8 million workdays each year due to absenteeism. If you want to battle the absenteeism problem effectively and avoid considerable financial and productivity losses, try taking a proactive approach to it, implementing several strategies

Create a More Engaging and People-Focused Work Environment

Company culture is among the top factors that determine your retention rates. If you claim that your company fosters people-focused culture but don’t back this claim with concrete examples, you’ll soon face higher absenteeism and attrition rates. The Coronavirus pandemic has shown how important employee well-being is for their productivity and engagement. 

So if you want your employees to stay engaged and satisfied with their work, try offering professional development opportunities and work challenges to help them enrich their skill set and feel they’re doing meaningful work.

By analyzing employee monitoring program data, you can see how these training opportunities increased your employee engagement and productivity and inspired their professional growth.

Offer Increased Work Flexibility

The perspective of the workplace and employees’ needs have changed irreversibly over the past two years requiring leaders to redefine the way work is done. After experiencing increased work/life balance and freedom to choose when and where to work, most employees don’t want to give up these benefits and go back to strict work hours spent in the office.

If you want to avoid excessive, unplanned absenteeism, you need to meet your employees’ changing needs by offering hybrid or remote work arrangements, a shorter workweek, and more work autonomy to your staff.

If you still wonder how to keep an eye on your employees to make sure they’re working in remote or hybrid environments, don’t worry. You can rely on attendance-tracking software to paint a clear picture of employees’ attendance and activities during work hours. You can use this data to identify employees who are often absent from work and make effective steps to help them get back on their feet and be fully engaged in their work again.