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Care@Work / Care@Work Blog / 5 Steps to Curbing Workplace Absenteeism

5 Steps to Curbing Workplace Absenteeism

Patrick Ball on December 02, 2014 06:28 PM

Picture this: You're at work with a million things on your plate, but are preoccupied with what’s happening at home -- the sitter has to leave early, you have to drop off the kids at practice and what about all that laundry?

OK, now picture this: You’re an employer noticing productivity slipping as one of your employees appears distracted; that lately they haven’t been there when you need them.

Occasional sick or personal days are a normal part of doing business. But when absenteeism becomes a chronic condition, it begins to drain employee engagement, morale and job satisfaction levels. Not to mention that it costs US businesses billions of dollars annually in lost productivity costs. 

While there are many root causes for employee absenteeism, there are a number of things a company can do to reduce employee absence and create a healthier and more productive workplace. We'll take a look at a few of them.

  1. Have a Clear Attendance Policy
    You don’t get what you don’t ask for, right? Companies should have a clear, fair and consistently applied attendance policy in place. "When companies look the other way, it sends the message that attendance is just not that important, encouraging employees to take advantage," says Karin Hurt, CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders.

  2. Be Flexible
    Life happens…to all of us. Flex work arrangements help put the focus on the work getting done, rather than where and when it gets done. "Rigid schedules with no ability to flex for doctor’s appointments or other emergencies leave the employee with very little choice but to ‘come down with something’ to give them the time they need," says Hurt.

    If flex days aren't enough, and an employee is experiencing a time of personal transition, offer telecommuting or an option to work from home a few days of the week. "This shows your support and will increase employee morale and commitment,” says Judith Belmont, a workplace wellness speaker and the author of “The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life.”

    Learn more about How to Make Flex Work Work For You

  3. Encourage Two-Way Communication
    Be accessible and foster an open relationship with your staff. If absenteeism is an issue, you need to identify the root cause with your staff openly and honestly. "Are they not coming in because they don’t want to or is it that they have other issues making it difficult for them to come to work,” says Hurt. “These conversations will determine the next steps.”  

    And your communication efforts should extend to offering regular feedback and encouragement to employees, because there is a clear correlation between quality of leadership and attendance results. "When a person feels they are recognized for contributing something important, they have more sense of control and commitment to the work at hand,” says Belmont.

  4. Care About Your Culture
    High stress and poor morale office environments are like petri dishes for absenteeism issues. Focus on cultivating company culture and employee engagement through wellness training around not only health-related topics, but work-life balance, stress management and improving communication, as well. Remember, you want your employees to want to go to work every day, because if they don’t then they won’t.

  5. Offer Care Assistance Benefits
    When an otherwise reliable employee begins to miss work regularly, a common culprit is caregiving responsibilities. Employers can address this issue head-on through employer-provided lifestyle benefits. Child and senior care assistance, such as resource and referral or backup care services can cut down days missed due to routine events like sick kids or school vacations. Leading companies have found that doing so not only improves employee attendance, but boosts productivity, engagement and morale as well.

Click the button below to learn more about how adult and senior backup care can curb absenteeism and boost your bottom line.

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