Unplanned absences are inevitable
people usually don’t get a lot of warning before they get sick or before an emergency comes up. Still, there are ways to reduce the number of unplanned absences among your employees. This will save a lot of lost productivity, but may also improve corporate culture and give you happier, healthier employees who will be more present and engaged in your business. Here are some ways to reduce the unplanned absences.
Set a clear policy
How many absences are too many? How late is too late? These can be grey areas, so you need to set a clear standard if you plan to enforce any rules or confront any frequently-absent employees. Set a clear policy in your employee handbook and train all new employees during orientation. Make sure that your policy states how many paid sick days are provided, if any, and what the limit for absences in a certain period is (for example, six days in a twelve-month period.) Once this policy is clearly stated, you can grade attendance during annual performance reviews or talk to employees about their absences.
You – and your employees – should know how many unplanned absences they’ve had. If your company provides paid sick days, these days should definitely be tracked so that the employee can be compensated. But even if there is no paid benefit, these absences should still be tracked. This way, you will know if an employee is abusing unplanned absences or has gone over the allowed amount of days. Consider using time and labor tracking software, or a self-serve payroll system, so that you and your employees can easily see how many absences they’ve had and how many sick days they have remaining.
Develop a wellness program
Healthy employees need fewer sick days, so encouraging a healthy lifestyle can help. Programs may help employees to quit smoking, lose weight, or get more active, all things that can help employees stay healthy.
Decrease stress in the workplace
Stress can exacerbate illnesses, or make employees not want to come to work. By decreasing stress in the workplace and letting employees know that you have an open door policy for any of their concerns, you may be able to prevent some absences.
Offer paid vacation time
Let’s face it, everyone needs a day off sometimes. Whether it is to tend to an obligation or because they just need to unwind, many of your employees know in advance that they need time off. By offering paid time off, your employees can rest, relax, and get things done so that they can be more productive when they are on the job. Plus, when the absences are planned, you can schedule coverage around the absence so not to lose productivity nor stress out the remaining staff members.
You may be able to help sick and injured employees come back to work faster or miss less work while they are dealing with issues. See if you can adapt the job or the workplace to a sick or injured employee returning to work; having the already-trained and experienced employee back is less costly than hiring and training a replacement or having another employee cover for longer. Make sure that injured employees are cleared by a doctor before they return to work, though. If an employee is going through a difficult situation outside of the workplace, work with them to see if you can modify their schedule or help them through an employee support program.