Frequent, short-term absences in your company can lower morale as staff have to cover for absent colleagues, making their workloads significantly increase. It can also lead to mistakes, lower productivity, delay projects and cause low motivation.
Along with monitoring the absences, you may want to start by introducing some of the following absence management measures which can encourage higher attendance rates and help cut the cost of staff absences: –
- Return to work interviews. These are used as a way of deterring non-genuine absences and ensuring that people’s return is managed smoothly.They can also help to identify any underlying health issues which are causing absences and enable line managers or HR to put measures in place to help workers avoid taking time off in the future.
- Attendance incentives. These can take the form of cash rewards or allowing an extra day’s holiday for anyone with 100% attendance or allowing staff to leave early on the last Friday of the month if they haven’t had a day off.
- Flexible working policies. These allow staff to work from home or shift their working hours around and can help staff achieve a better work/life balance.
- Training for both workers and their managers on how to cope with stress, mental health problems and other wellbeing issues can have a significant impact on absence levels.
- Promoting healthy lifestyles. Encouraging your workers to adopt a healthy lifestyle can reap rewards in terms of your absence rate. Perks like free gym membership or on-site sports facilities encourage workers to exercise. If you’re on a tight budget, organising a weekly work walking or running club is a great way to get your workers exercising.
Be careful – absence management can go wrong. There’s a fine line between effectively monitoring and managing absence, and scaring or enticing employees into the office when they’re really not well enough to be there.
When creating your absence management strategy, it’s important to be aware of these less desirable outcomes: –
- Increased stress for employees who feel under pressure to come into work, exacerbated their health problems and resulting in long-term absences.
- Return to work interviews are too interrogating, so some employees will try to avoid the stress they cause by coming into work when they should be at home in bed. To combat this, make sure that you welcome the employee back to work and, as well as finding out why they were absent, check that they feel they’re well enough to be back in the office.
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