6 Things You Should Be Doing To Reduce Employee Absences



Working employees but there are absent

Did you know that employee absenteeism eats up 5-17% of an organisation’s total payroll?

Chronically absent employees aren’t working employees.

They are unproductive workers that are bad for any company and therefore shouldn’t be found anywhere in your organisation as well.

Look around your workplace. Is there anyone who isn’t on their work desk right now but should be?

Has it been going on for quite a while? Have you ever wondered what causes employee absenteeism? Are you aware if chronic absenteeism is happening in your organisation?

Here are the signs to watch out for:

  • 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

And here are some tips that will help reduce employee absenteeism in your workplace:

1. Identify the underlying issues

Once you’ve spotted the warning signs of absenteeism, the first important step to take is to understand and address the underlying issues. Know where this behavior is coming from.

Three female employees discussing to each other

Photo Courtesy from: Pexels Image by Tim Gouw

Before taking any disciplinary action, it is best to consider the factors that are causing an employee’s absenteeism. Try to figure out or understand what are the things that are making your employees not want to go to work.

Could it be work-related stress? Could you improve the workplace hygiene? Could it be bullying by colleagues? Is it workplace distractions? Or personal issues that affect one’s performance at work?

By determining these factors, you will be able to look at the big picture and start taking preventative measures that will help reduce the level of absenteeism of employees in your workplace.

2. 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 to work, including their illness’ nature, and when they can get back to work.

Male employee holding a mobile phone

Photo Courtesy from: Pixabay Image by niekverlaan

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.

3. Kill off the stress

Have you ever felt the need to take a day or two off from stress? Your employees do too! In fact, work-related stress is the second most common compensated illness in Australia.

According to the National Health and Safety Commission, work-related stress is to blame for the longest stretches of absenteeism, costing organisations money. 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.

Employees having an important meeting.

Photo Courtesy from: Flickr Image by Cydcor

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. Improve workplace cleanliness and hygiene

Did you know that substandard hygiene in the workplace also leads to employee absenteeism? How about the part that this problem costs Australian businesses a staggering $11.4 billion a year?

All clean and bright work place.

Photo Courtesy from: Flickr Image by iBrand Company

Out of these huge lost earnings, $5.4 billion accounts for employees taking too many sick days and the other $6 billion is for the total number of days employees spend a year avoiding their dirty office.

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 Fresh & Clean can help you with.

Alsco’s Fresh and Clean line includes a whole range of hygiene and washroom rental programs throughout Australia.

Invest on 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.

5. Reach out

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 manager and an employee talking.

Photo Courtesy from: Flickr Image by Randstad Canada

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.

6. Give them a little extra

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.

Absentee employees cost organisations money. A LOT of money. And when taken for granted, high rates of employee absenteeism can have drastic, probably even irreparable effects on your bottom line.

There are a lot of ways you can put an end to these problems and keeping them from happening again. All you have to do is to start now.

You also have a lot of partners in dealing with these kinds of workplace problems. Alsco, has been in the industry of keeping workplaces all over Australia fresh and clean for 50 years.

You can count on Alsco to take a lot of your burden off your shoulders. From hygiene and sanitation to rental uniforms and so much more.

Give us a call today and we can talk about how to improve your workplace today and eventually stop your absentee employees from trying to avoid it!

Photo Courtesy from: Flickr Image by George Grinsted



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.