$ 1.3 billion is a lot of money! In fact, that is exactly how much money the New Zealand economy lost due to the employee absenteeism. The amount is tallied when you combine the costs of over 6 millions days off that people had to take due to different causes.
These numbers are taken from the Wellness in the Workplace Survey Report results from 2013.
Of course, there are several factors that influence the absenteeism.
The same survey showed that manual workers take more days off than those that are non-manual. It also shows that employees in private sectors have less days off on average, but the costs are quite similar to those of the public sector. Also, it seems that the number of sick days taken increase with the size of a business.
If you want to prevent your business from being affected as shown in these statistics, you need to read them through, understand the causes of such behaviour and prevent them.
Some of the issues are obvious, such as, keeping your workplace washroom in perfect condition to prevent the spread of bacteria and illnesses. Perhaps, there is much less you can do about some other causes, but even a little bit helps.
All the causes of absenteeism can be classified into two groups:
- Those that have justified reasons that lie outside the working conditions.
- Those that originate from employee reluctance to come to the workplace.
However, let’s take a closer look at the main reasons for employee absence and suggest some ways you can prevent such occurrences and reduce the costs for your business.
Non-Work Related Sickness
This is the most common reason of workplace absence and over 60% of all sick days are taken for this reason. However, this doesn’t mean that this sickness hasn’t been contracted in the workplace. It simply means that it is not industry-related.
For example, it is quite possible that a person has been infected with a flu virus in their workplace. This is still not a work-related sickness. This type of sickness is, for example, when a person gets sick by inhaling the fumes that occur in their workplace due to the fact that their job involves working with certain chemicals.
Therefore, you can help prevent these non-work related illnesses by creating a safe and healthy workplace for your employees. Your first step should be ensuring flawless workplace hygiene.
Dirty hands cause a lot of germs to be spread and they are the cause of many illnesses. You cannot expect people to have clean hands if the washroom is not equipped with items such as hand sanitisers, dryers and similar devices.
The other reason why people don’t keep their hands and their workplace clean is much simpler – they forget! When totally immersed in their own work, forgetfulness can happen to anybody.
You can prevent this by hanging useful workplace washroom hygiene posters.
Caring for a Family Member in Need
This is the second most common reason for absenteeism. While you cannot prevent this from happening, you can make sure that you reduce the impact of it to your business in terms of productivity.
If you have one or several employees that have somebody at their home that need their full attention, figure out a way to give them the time they need at home with having a minimal effect on their work productivity.
Some of the options are reducing their daily work hours. It is quite possible that they can be just as productive in 6 hours as they would be in 8 hours of daily work when properly motivated.
Every time you can, offer those workers a chance to work from home or finish their work at home. In this way, they will stay productive and their absence will not hurt the overall productivity of your business.
Non-Work Related Injury
While you shoud do anything you can to prevent work-related injuries, those that happen outside your workplace are hardly yours to take care off. Therefore, there is not much you can do about them.
However, those employees will have to stay home and get better. If they have the paid sick days, they should take them, but if they don’t – consider the work from home options with them.
Sick Days Taken Without Being Sick
This is a very tricky reason for using up sick days and it needs to be looked into thoroughly. A large portion of people that excuse their absenteeism in this way are actually avoiding their workplace. Instead of going for some sort of punishment immediately, try and find the cause behind such behaviour.
For example, if your barista in a cafe doesn’t want to take up more shifts because their back hurt from all the standing, you can rent the anti-fatigue mats that can solve this issue.
If somebody is feeling bullied or disrespected at work, you need to act and turn your workplace into a friendly environment.
Introducing workplace uniforms can also bring people together. They boost the team spirit and the sense of belonging, so they may just be the thing that encourage the employees to become more responsible with their attendance.
Work-Related Injury or Sickness
A lot of workplace accidents can be prevented. In order to do your best and prevent work related injuries or illnesses, you need to meticulously follow the Health and Safety at Work Act.
It contains extensive and detailed guidelines about what to do and how to act in order to prevent your employees from getting hurt or sick at work.
However, due to many factors, accidents still occur. As an employer, you need to be prepared for that situation, as well. You need to have the First Aid kits properly distributed, appropriately stocked and regularly inspected.
This doesn’t mean more work or more responsibilities for you. You just need to contact Alsco and look into our rental programs. We bring, stock, check and restock all the First Aid kits you may need.
You just call us and we’ll give you the best possible monthly quote for your business. In exchange, we bring all the equipment, regularly check it, clean it and deliver it in time – yes, uniforms, as well!
Contact us today and find out how we can help you run your business and improve your workplace.