7 tips and hints to help manage absences in the workplace

Businesses of any size will know full well that unscheduled employee absences are just something they’ll have to deal with, but there are ways to manage the situations effectively. Absences can lower morale, create mistakes, increase stress, and reduce productivity. There are definitely certain actions to take that don’t overstep employees’ rights, yet will decrease the inconvenience that sick days can bring.

Offer duvet days

This idea has been trending in recent years, whereby an employer will offer around 4-5 days every year for employees to take when they are either hungover, tired, or just not in the right physical or mental mood. A top favourite amongst millennials, these won’t affect your company that much, but it means a lot to employees who are just having one of those days.

Offer just a few more holidays

Employees are definitely less likely to fake sickness when they are simply given 2-3 more holidays than the standard offered every year. Some companies even reward longevity and give an extra holiday for each year spent working there. These are small moves that go a long way and show that you care deeply about the well-being of your employees.

Give everyone similar level of access

Things are so much simpler when everyone is on the same page regarding topics like how many holidays an employee still has left or whether an out-of-office appointment has been approved or not! Sometimes team leaders or the HR department forget to reply to emails and it can be stressful for employees to send reminders! The entire back and forth process is time-consuming and unnecessary. Absence management software is becoming much simpler to use and helps employees feel like the company they work for has far more transparency.

Make employees call the office, rather than email

Everyone loves to communicate by email because it barely requires any effort, but colleagues might think twice about faking a sickness if they have to call. It might not stamp out the problem entirely, but it may just stem the flow.

Monitor potential sick day trends

Is an employee always sick on a Monday every fortnight? Is this a trend that should be monitored? If you can see a pattern forming, then it could be time to have a return-to-work interview when the employee is back at the workplace. There could be a very good reason that the same pattern is happening, or it could be that the employee is always having a wild Sunday party! Either way, investigate if you see a habit.

Allow mobile office and flexible hours

As long as the work is done and the contracted hours are completed, does it really matter where or when this happens? Mobile office and flexible working hours give employees a sense of freedom about how they get their work done. Some might be early birds, others might be night owls, but if you cater to the way people like to work – especially if they feel more productive at home (or even at a beach) rather than an office – then you’re a forward-thinking business. Doing this will likely result in less fake sick days, as the employee has their break from office life yet still gets work finished: win-win.

Don’t make the workplace feel suffocating

The idea that you can only work at one desk indoors is a bit old hat nowadays. Companies like Facebook or Google give the option to work on bean bags, couches, or even at standing desks or a table outside in the sun. When employees hate the office because of the feeling of being chained to a desk, then they’ll start to resent the entire company and look for work elsewhere.

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