There is no doubt that workplace absences can be extremely frustrating for business owners all around the world. And while there is obviously nothing you can do about people coming down with illnesses, what you can do is change your workplace policies to reduce the cost to your company. Simply knowing the driving factors behind why employees are absent on a regular basis can go a long way in your business. In fact, a huge number of workplace absences are caused by stress, so taking steps to make your office less stressful can protect your employees’ health and reduce the number of absences during the year. So, let’s look at the ways that your business can better deal with this issue.
Keep Track of Employee Absences
One of the main issues that companies are having is that they are not accurately keeping track of employee absences. Thankfully, technology is making this process a lot easier with the advance of absence management software. As a responsible employer, if you can step in to find out if there are any workplace-related issues that are causing absences, then this can be beneficial for them and your business as a whole. Conducting these kind of interviews can be a difficult process as you don’t want to make it seem like a witch hunt, but it is important to know whether there is anything you can do to reduce absences where possible.
Bring in Wellness Programs into the Workplace
Better health at work is an issue that more and more employers have been looking at in the last few years in particular. Wellness programs can encourage employees to maintain healthier lifestyles and improve the culture of your workplace as a whole. There are plenty of examples of different programs that have been shown to be effective. You could invite a yoga teacher into the workplace and offer free sessions. Free healthy snacks could be offered in the kitchen or breakroom and fresh water should be made available. Ergonomic work stations could be installed so employees have the option of standing up to work during the day. These type of workplace programs can really make all the difference to employee health.
Help Employees Return to Work
Returning to work can be a very difficult issue, particularly if it is after a long absence. But the truth is that many employers don’t have a system to deal with this issue, which in turn leads to more absences. There are plenty of ways that you can adapt the workplace to accommodate employees who have been dealing with illness, injury or disability. You also have the option of giving employees the flexibility to telecommute and providing flexibility in working schedules. If the employee isn’t immediately ready to return to the workplace after an absence, you can agree a staggered program that encourages them to return at their own pace.
Reduce Office Stress
As we have already talked about, workplaces tend to be the biggest causes of stress in people’s lives. Unfortunately, it becomes a bit of a vicious cycle as when staff members are regularly off due to stress, this puts even more on the rest of the team. The only way that you can deal with the problem is by reducing stress in the workplace as much as possible. When you distribute projects, make sure everyone has adequate time and resources to complete the project. You should try to create a culture where communication is encouraged so people feel like they can come to their manager if they have any sort of problem. Though the right amount of pressure can help people to do their job successfully, if they constantly feel under strain, they are much more likely to take time off work to relieve this stress. We have already talked briefly about giving employees tools in the workplace to reduce their stress levels, so you need to make sure that these are readily available to all employees when they need them.
Offer a Flexible Vacation Policy
You should try to make your vacation policy as flexible as possible so people feel comfortable asking for time off. If employees don’t have enough vacations, they tend to be both more stressed and more likely to take unauthorized absences. Obviously, most days off come around the weekends and public holidays. If there are certain times of the year when you would prefer people not to take vacation time, make sure that this is made clear so that everyone is on the same page.