Guide to employee absenteeism – causes, costs & solutions

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Are you struggling with employee absenteeism in the workplace? Do employees miss work without a reasonable explanation? Does this impact your company’s productivity and revenue? But you are unsure of the causes, costs, or solutions. Stick with us and let’s explore in depth employee absenteeism in the workplace.

Businessman working in his office. Unhappy businessman thinking about employee absenteeism

Employee absenteeism can have a significant impact on any company. It can impact an organization’s productivity, morale, and bottom line. In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving work environments, understanding the causes, costs, and effective solutions for employee absenteeism is crucial for fostering a healthy and thriving workplace.

In this comprehensive guide to employee absenteeism, we will delve deep into the intricacies of this issue. We will shed light on its root causes, and the financial toll it takes on businesses. Most importantly, we will offer practical solutions to mitigate its effects. Plus also how to create a more engaged and efficient workforce.

Whether you’re an HR professional, a manager, or an employee seeking insights into this pervasive workplace challenge. This guide will provide you with valuable information to address employee absenteeism head-on. Thus building a more resilient and productive team.

Employee absenteeism definition

Absenteeism occurs when someone regularly misses work on a scheduled schedule. This applies to all employees, including full-time shift workers, and is usually unplanned and without reason.

Moreover, absenteeism consists primarily of a person being absent from their daily job for a long period of time. In some cases, this is intentional. Also, when they are absent it is not for a good reason. This may indicate that there may be workplace bullying, family ties, medical issues, or a job search.

Absenteeism can also be defined as a habit of employees leaving work often deliberately and without reason at all in order to avoid a loss. Absenteesis may be expensive for employers and can cause more loss.

How much absenteeism is acceptable?

As a general rule, the 1.7% absence rate is considered an acceptable rate. Illness will never be completely prevented and you may also take three weeks off from work to recover from any underlying illness.

Excessive absenteeism relates to more than one occurrence of unexcited absence within 30 days and results in disciplinary action against them. Approximately 8% of the unaccounted absences are considered terminations.

What is the difference between absence and absenteeism?

Absence is usually related to a time off from work that has not been planned or not agreed upon beforehand like a vacation call. The absence of a person seeking time off from work is usually not considered a problem.

Absenteeism occurs when people frequently leave the company. They don’t always have a good reason and it’s consistent. Moreover, they may take long periods of time off with no warning. Also, they may not show up without taking time off and no explanation. This can be problematic for the company and costly.

What are some reasons for absences at work?

There are numerous reasons for absenteeism in the workplace. Some of them include employee burnout, mental health issues, workplace harassment, and much more. Let’s explore each of these and more in detail below.

Business woman burnout at work with her head on the desk

Employee burnout

The burning out factor in the employee’s performance has become the primary cause of employee absenteeism. Most employees face demanding working conditions that can cause them to spread themselves rather thin. In the IT industry, it’s popular for developers to take on multiple jobs as they are usually on a B2b contract. They can work even 14-hour days. This in the long term is unhealthy and affects a number of things. It affects job satisfaction, work-life balance, and productivity.

Unfortunately though, 👉 workplace burnout 👈 is usually forgotten. However, the best HR practitioners recognize the importance of employees allowing themselves to rest. Nevertheless, the majority of the employees are overexposed and do not get any free time. And that will eventually reduce their desire to be at work.

Depression or other mental health issues

Over 1 million workers are lost every year as they work due to employee stress. In addition to stress, mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and other ailments sometimes cause employees to feel unwell enough to miss work. Mental health issues can be offset by the job itself, personal issues, and much more. But unfortunately if not dealt with properly it can lead to employees missing work.

Toxic workplace & poor employee morale

Another key reason why you may have employee absenteeism is a toxic workplace and overall poor employee morale. If you have a toxic workplace where there is harassment, office politics, etc.. You may find that many of your employees refuse to show up to work.

Since the pandemic, there has been a greater focus on creating a healthy and positive workplace. Employees are putting pressure on their employers to eliminate toxic staff and create a better working environment. One bad seed can ruin an entire crop. This is why you need to eliminate any toxic employees from the beginning and hire the right person.

Mad hr representative pointing at door asking disengaged employee to leave

Employee disengagement

Active employee disengagement can be a form of employee absenteeism. Employees who are unhappy, and unmotivated also tend to be disengaged. They don’t take initiative and they do the bare minimum. In some cases, they may quiet quit their job by slowly pulling away. Moreover, they may 👉 loud quit 👈 by actively showing they are disengaged and dissatisfied with their job.

Poor leadership

Poor leadership can significantly contribute to employee absenteeism within an organization. When leaders fail to provide clear direction, support, and a positive work environment, employees often become disengaged and demotivated. This lack of guidance and inspiration can lead to a decreased sense of job satisfaction. Thus causing employees to lose interest in their work and ultimately resulting in higher rates of absenteeism.

Moreover, ineffective leaders may also fail to address conflicts, workload issues, or employee concerns, further exacerbating the problem. In such an environment, employees may resort to taking more sick days or personal leave as a way to escape the negative effects of poor leadership. This all ultimately undermines the productivity and cohesion of the entire team.

Calendar planner agenda with rigid schedule

Inflexible work schedule

If you have rigid hours in place for your salaried employees, contract workers, or even an hourly worker this may be a problem for them. We will have different things that we need to deal with in our lives whether it be children, a sick spouse, pets, another job, etc. that may make sticking to a schedule difficult at times.

In some cases, an inflexible work schedule may be minor in terms of employers getting angry that someone is a couple of minutes late. There are so many things that can factor into that happening and sometimes it’s worth rethinking start times if it’s a reoccurring event.

What are the costs of employee absenteeism?

There are several different costs associated with employee absenteeism in the workplace.

Lost productivity

One cost associated with employee absenteeism is lost productivity. If an employee consistently doesn’t show up to work, you are losing productivity. The tasks that they are meant to do, won’t get done if they are sitting at home. Even if you hire someone to replace them for the time being, before they get a handle on everything, you will again lose valuable time and productivity.

Young worried woman thinking of her delayed development project

Decrease in customer satisfaction

If you have low employee engagement and workplace absenteeism you may find that your customers start to complain as well. The IT sector relies heavily on the expertise and availability of skilled professionals to provide:

  • timely support,
  • troubleshoot technical issues,
  • and deliver on project deadlines.

When employees are frequently absent, it can lead to delays in addressing customer inquiries, resolving technical problems, and completing projects on time. This not only hinders the efficiency and effectiveness of IT services but also leaves customers frustrated and dissatisfied with the level of support and service they receive.

Moreover, repeated absenteeism can result in inconsistency in customer interactions. Thus making it difficult for clients to build trust and confidence in the IT team’s abilities. Ultimately, a decrease in employee attendance can erode customer satisfaction. Therefore, damaging the reputation and success of IT companies in the competitive market.

Missing deadlines

Employee absenteeism can significantly disrupt workflow and lead to missed deadlines in the workplace. When employees are absent, especially key team members or those with critical roles in a project, it can create gaps in project execution. This may necessitate reassigning tasks or redistributing workloads to cover for the absent employees. Thus often adding extra burden on others. The time and effort required to make these adjustments can cause delays in project timelines.

Moreover, absenteeism can lead to a loss of productivity and efficiency. This is because those who are present may have to spend time catching up on missed work. Moreover, they have to deal with the consequences of incomplete tasks.

In a cumulative effect, absenteeism can disrupt the rhythm of work. This ultimately results in projects not being completed on time. Therefore, managing and addressing employee absenteeism is crucial for maintaining productivity and meeting deadlines in any organization.

Man in despair that his business is loosing money due to employee absenteeism

Losing money

We mentioned this previous paragraphs that employee absenteeism in the workplace can cause you to lose money. It can cause you to lose money due to a lack of productivity and paying workers to do a certain task much longer than normal.

Moreover, you can hurt your budget due to missing deadlines and unhappy customers. Unhappy customers won’t return and won’t recommend your business either. This can impact your revenue and a loss in profits.

Your business can lose money due to employee absenteeism because you may be paying for someone to sit at home. Moreover, you may be paying someone to fill in for the time being that the first person is absent.

What can employers do about employee absenteeism?

Let’s check some of the things that employers can do to try and reduce absenteeism in the workplace. Once you find the source of the problem, you can try solutions like:

  • emphasis on work-life balance
  • providing employee benefits
  • corporate wellness programs
  • reward employee attendance

We’ll explore each of these in more detail below.

Emphasis on Work-life balance

Emphasizing the importance of work-life balance can help in managing absenteeism in the workplace. Work-life balance has become a popular topic, especially in the IT industry. Software developers are taking on more hours, more projects, and sitting mainly at work. This leaves little time for friends, family, hobbies, or even rest. The lack of work-life balance can lead to disengagement, burnout, and eventually employee absenteeism.

Work-life balance can mean providing your employees with a flexible work schedule. This can also mean providing them with additional paid days off & making sure that they use it. You may consider providing employee perks that will help them take part in their hobbies. A popular employee perk is a gym membership or unlimited personal growth courses.

Some other ways to 👉 provide work-life balance for employees 👈 include things like:

  • regular breaks during working hours
  • additional support for parents
  • provide consistent feedback & praise
  • lead by example

And so much more.

Happy woman working at home as an employee benefits

Provide more employee benefits

An incentive to reduce absenteeism is to provide more employee benefits. You can provide perks that perhaps your employees have been asking for, or that you know would make them happy. Some common employee perks include:

  • private health care
  • gym memberships
  • personal growth courses
  • e-learning
  • working from home

And many more. These may help keep employees coming to work and be more engaged.

Employee wellness programs

In today’s rapidly increasing environment, the employees are increasingly unreliable and have almost no spare time. The long-term effect of this is to cause workers many health concerns and negatively affect their presence on the job.

Employee wellness programs are also a useful solution. This wellness program primarily aims towards a healthy working day for the employees. And today, cloud-enabled health programs can become much more easily managed. Incorporated into your workplace will promote employees’ fitness.

Reward employees who show up to work

If you have a clear employee attendance policy, then you can reward employees who show up to work. Rewarding employees who consistently show up to work can be an effective strategy for reducing employee absenteeism. When employees feel appreciated and recognized for their dedication and punctuality, it creates a positive reinforcement loop. Such rewards can be:

  • both intrinsic, such as verbal praise or public recognition,
  • and extrinsic, like bonuses or additional time off.

These incentives not only motivate employees to prioritize attendance but also foster a sense of belonging and engagement within the workplace. When employees understand that their commitment is valued and rewarded, they are more likely to make a concerted effort to be present. Thus resulting in lower absenteeism rates. Ultimately, this can lead to increased productivity and a healthier work environment. This is beneficial for both employees and the organization as a whole.

People working in the media field with tablet and computer. Developers from IT staffing company to combat employee absenteeism

IT staff augmentation services to lower employee absenteeism

Another solution to employee absenteeism in the workplace is to try IT staff augmentation services. IT staff augmentation services can help lower employee absenteeism by providing a flexible and responsive solution to workload fluctuations. When organizations face sudden surges in IT demands due to projects, maintenance, or unexpected issues, they often overload their internal IT teams, leading to burnout and increased absenteeism.

By leveraging 👉 IT staff augmentation 👈, companies can quickly access additional IT talent to distribute the workload more evenly. This prevents IT staff from becoming overwhelmed and reduces the likelihood of burnout-related absenteeism. Moreover, augmentation services offer expertise and specialized skills that may not be readily available in-house. Thus improving overall team efficiency and ensuring tasks are completed promptly. Therefore, further reducing stress-related absenteeism among internal IT personnel.

Also, when you choose Swyply IT staff augmentation you gain a 👉 14 guarantee period 👈 that can help you replace a developer if something is not working out. Or if your project changes and you need a different set of skills. Moreover, if you decide that IT staff augmentation is not the right fit, you can end our cooperation as well.

Why you shouldn’t ignore employee absenteeism?

Ignoring employee absenteeism in the workplace won’t make the problem go away and will only increase various costs in your business. Also, it will damage your reputation on the job market and decrease the number of people who apply to work for your company. Additionally, it may increase employee turnover, if morale is poor and there is a toxic workplace.

Understanding the causes of absenteeism is helpful in decreasing your time spent working. What are the signs of anxiety? Are people bored and tired? Do we have any examples of harassment? Is there no recognition? Do they really need to discuss this with us personally? Knowing what your staff is going through will reduce your liability and prevent future litigation. Workplace surveys can really help understand where your staff lives. How can managers improve morale? Workers who feel they have heard from managers generally like their jobs.

Woman taking on more work because of employee absenteeism in her company

TL;DR: Summary of our guide to employee absenteeism – causes, costs & solutions

Employee absenteeism refers to the habitual or occasional absence of an employee from their workplace or scheduled work duties. It encompasses instances where employees fail to report to work as scheduled, arrive late, or leave early, often without prior approval or a valid reason such as illness, personal emergencies, or approved time off. Some common causes of employee absenteeism include:

  • Employee burnout
  • Depression
  • Toxic workplace
  • Employee disengagement
  • Poor leadership
  • Inflexible work schedule

And much more. Regardless of the cause, employee absenteeism can have significant implications for organizations such as:

  • leading to decreased productivity,
  • increased operational costs,
  • disrupted work processes,
  • and potential negative impacts on team dynamics.

Managing and addressing absenteeism is crucial for maintaining a productive and efficient workforce while ensuring the well-being and satisfaction of employees. You shouldn’t ignore employee absenteeism as it won’t go away on its own. Moreover, it can cause you to lose money due to missed deadlines and unhappy customers. Also, chances are there is an issue internally that needs to be resolved to reduce absenteeism. Some ways to lower employee absenteeism rates in your company include:

  • Emphasis on Work-life balance
  • Provide more employee benefits
  • Employee wellness programs
  • Reward employees who show up to work

Another solution to employee absenteeism is IT staff augmentation. You gain flexibility in terms of hiring and access to a larger talent pool. You can access tech professionals that you are lacking internally and may not be available in your local market. Additionally, if you work with Swyply, you have a 14-day trial period, where you can switch out a software developer if something is not right.

What’s been your experience with employee absenteeism?

Have you experienced employee absenteeism in your company? Did you ever figure out what the cause of employee absenteeism was in your business? Are you struggling to find a solution? Check out our IT staff augmentation services. 👉 Drop us a line 👈 and let’s chat about tackling employee absenteeism. We offer free no-obligation consultations about solving employee absenteeism with IT staffing.

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