6 Ways To Deal With Absences Of Your Employees



An empty office due to employee absenteeism.

A little known fact is that employee absenteeism eats up 5-17% of an organisation’s total payroll.

People who don’t come to work are not contributing to the success of any business.

Absenteeism is one of the often neglected problems in the business world.

It shows only after careful analyses of employees’ behavior and it is generally hard to deal with.

These are some of the signs to look for when trying to diagnose absenteeism problem in your company.

  • Repeated/frequent absenteeism
  • A noticeable pattern of Monday and Friday absences
  • Excessive tardiness
  • Leaving work early
  • Frequent absences due to vaguely defined illnesses
  • Unauthorized leave
  • Last minute requests for leave
  • Excessive use of sick leave

This article will try to identify the causes of absenteeism and offer some possible solutions for the problem. Since the solution to this problem is usually very case-specific you will find that not all the things listed here may be applicable to your problem. Still, if you take things listed in this article as a starting point, you will be on your way to root out absenteeism from your organization.

1. Set Attendance Expectations

Have a set of company policies and expectations regarding attendance and always remind your employees the importance of following these policies.

Have them notify a manager about the absence within a certain period of time, specifying the reason they won’t make it work, including their illness’ nature, and when they can get back to work.

It would be best to have them provide evidence too, such as a note from a doctor that states they are unfit for work.

These attendance expectations can also be incorporated into your company’s leave policy.

2. Identify The Underlying Issues

When you notice signs of absenteeism, you need to try to define and address the problems behind it, that is, to find out what the causes of absenteeism are and see if you can do something to eliminate them.

Before you decide to apply some harsh measures, try to find out if there are some issues with the work environment which make your employee skip work.

Are they under a lot of unnecessary stress due to the amount of work they need to do? Is the chain of command properly established? Is there maybe a need to improve the workplace hygiene? Is the employee a victim of bullying? Do they maybe have some personal problems which are out of their control?

Once you figure out all the facts, you will be more prepared to deal with the employee’s absenteeism problem.

3. Deal With Stress In The Office

Have you ever felt the need to take a day or two off from stress? Your employees do too! Hence the need to recognise it as a significant health and safety issue.

Create an atmosphere in the office that is conducive to work and will reduce stress in your employees. Work on making the office a safe working environment and make sure that everyone is properly trained to perform their duties.

Openly recognising work-related stress as a genuine problem also helps remove the stigma connected to it. Make it a habit to discuss and resolve issues among employees, and make the appropriate action.

Get your employees involved in creating a stress management policy in your workplace. Encourage them to share their opinions about their duties and the management as well.
If possible, employ extra staff or reorganise duties to reduce the need for overtime work.

4. Give Them Something More Than Just Work

A great way to encourage employees to keep coming in is to provide them with extra experiences that will help them bond with their fellow employees. A First Aid course like that on offer with Alsco is one good idea.

Not only does it totally detract from any topics that are too focused on work, it gives your employees great life skills to apply in their day to day lives beyond work.

There are a lot of cases where employees don’t miss work simply to attend and have fun with their friends.

5. Make Sure Your Workplace Is Clean

Did you know that substandard hygiene in the workplace also leads to employee absenteeism?

Now you know why your workers would rather head out to get coffee instead of making one in your office kitchen. This is the same reason why they spend too much time in the washroom lining up for the only clean toilet cubicle, or why some get sick way too often.

It’s time to clean up. You can start with having a fresh, clean, and hygienic washroom – something Alsco can help you with.

Alsco’s washroom services include a whole range of hygiene and washroom rental programs throughout New Zealand.

Invest in eco-friendly, functional, hygienic products for odour control, hand hygiene, and even First Aid in your washroom. Then watch it all be worth it when your employees start to feel fresher, cleaner and healthier in your workplace instead of always dreading to be inside it.

6. Be Someone They Can Talk To

When you notice that a particular employee leans heavily on the absences, the first instinct is to berate and scold. It’s understandable and it is a part of the human nature. But that will likely drive them even further away into more absences.

A better way to go would be to take the time to listen and get to the heart of the matter. You don’t have to do this every day. All you need is occasional moments to check on them. Water cooler conversations reveal a lot more than any office meeting will.

Absenteeism is a really big problem for organizations these days. Speaking from the financial point of view, it can have effects so strong that they may shut down companies.

However, if treated systematically and patiently, absenteeism can easily be reduced to negligible levels. All you have to do is give this problem the attention it deserves and dedicate some time to solving it.

Alsco is your partner in this effort. Alsco’s rental services are a great way to keep your company’s premises fresh and clean for the benefit of your employees, clients and yourself.

Contact Alsco if you have any questions regarding improvement of your company’s work environment. Our friendly representatives and experts in the field of business hygiene and sanitation will be happy to give you some useful advice.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons by Famartin



Disclaimer – These articles are provided to supply general health, safety, and green information to people responsible for the same in their organisation. The articles are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs.