According to the SHRM report, unscheduled absenteeism has cost an average productivity loss of 36.6%.

Unplanned absences create bottlenecks within an organization, that lowers productivity, finances, and the morale of other employees who frequently pick up the slack left by those who are not available. 

While occasional planned leaves are acceptable to any organization, frequent absenteeism and that too for an extended period can derail any project and adversely affect its profitability. Therefore, it is crucial to address this issue and put the required procedures in place to reduce absenteeism in the workplace.

This article discusses the effects of workplace absenteeism and some effective methods to combat it.

Let’s begin –

1. Impact of workplace absenteeism on business

Every organizational task is critical and interdependent,with employees collaborating for a common objective.However, unanticipated or frequent absences from a resource can hinder a project’s completion. 

When employees go for unplanned leave, their work needs to be completed by other team members, resulting in overutilization. It will lead to stress and burnout in the existing employees, resulting in low morale and productivity loss. In addition, it will result in poor customer satisfaction due to substandard project quality and delays.

Furthermore, when a critical employee is absent for an extended period, employers will engage in last-minute hiring, incurring additional costs to the company. Moreover, the new hire will be unfamiliar with the existing business processes and client requirements, resulting in inadvertent mistakes.

Now that the consequences of unplanned absenteeism are clear, here is what you can do.

2. Ways to Reduce Workplace Absenteeism

Workplace absenteeism can significantly reduce organizational efficiency as it affects the top and bottom line of the organization. But one can reduce some of its effects with appropriate measures. Here’s how:

2.1 Ensure competent resource allocation

When a resource is assigned a task that requires skill sets or competencies beyond their capabilities, they will become stressed and compelled to take more leaves than required. Managers can reduce unplanned absences by forecasting resource skill sets, capabilities, availability, and utilization ahead of time before allocating resources systematically across projects. 

Work assignments based on an employee’s skills and interests promote engagement, and employees will feel accountable for their completion. This will motivate them to complete the task and then take the day off. If it is a high-priority project, employees will plan their vacation so that it does not interfere with any other projects or organizations.

2.2 Optimize resource utilization levels

Incompetent resource allocation affects employee engagement and increases instances of absenteeism. Project managers may assign additional responsibilities to a few resources, resulting in overutilization. Similarly, when a resource is not assigned to a challenging task, it causes underutilization and results in low productivity.

Managers can adjust the project timelines or add more resources to reduce the cases of overutilization and reduce employee burnout. Additionally, managers can estimate the underutilization of resources and mobilize them from nonbillable to billable activities. These procedures guarantee that work is distributed fairly, inspire employees to work hard, and increase job satisfaction while lowering unscheduled absences.

2.3 Foster a flexible and inclusive work culture

When employees work in a rigid schedule with minimal flexibility and opportunities, it often results in unplanned absenteeism. In addition, when there is a lack of careerdevelopment opportunities or innovation, it makes them feel unvalued and underappreciated. Therefore,organizations must foster a flexible and inclusive culture in which every voice is welcomed, heard, and respected. 

Team collaboration allows for active brainstorming in which everyone’s opinions and perspectives are valued. To maintain workflow, team members are encouraged to develop backup resources with comparable skill sets to fill in for them in their absence. Furthermore, a flexible work schedule promotes a healthy work-life balance, reducing unplanned absences. 

2.4 Set up a reward and recognition program

Employees persistently work hard to demonstrate their abilities and complete every task with due diligence. But they will lose interest and disengage if their efforts are not recognized and rewarded appropriately. When resources do not feel valued and appreciated, their morale suffers. As a result, they take frequent leaves and ultimately leave the organization searching for better opportunities. 

Employee recognition can take many forms, such as a wall of fame, social media recognition, a monetary bonus for meeting monthly goals, or even a small gesture such as a tap on the shoulder. Implementing a reward or recognition program will demonstrate that the organization values its efforts. As a result, employees will be motivated to perform even better if they are engaged in their work and do not take extended leave.

2.5 Offer sufficient vacation days and paid time off

Employee morale and performance can suffer if they don’t use their vacation days and paid time off. Establishing clear policies for leave will spare businesses from managing unanticipated absences and avoid being caught off guard. Additionally, it enables workers to take time away from their jobs to reduce stress so they can return renewed and more productive.

When employees get adequate paid time off, they don’t see the need to take additional ones. To make it even better, employers may also set up yearly team retreats to promote engagement and strengthen the team dynamic. These practices will increase staff morale, increase employee retention, and eliminate the need for unplannedabsences.

2.6 Provide career development opportunities

Employees seek opportunities for growth, learning, and challenge. But if there are no prospects for growth within the company, employees will lose motivation, put in minimal effort, and eventually leave. But they will stay if they get a chance to showcase their talent, chart their growth, and have their ambitions recognized.

Organizations can assist employees in achieving their professional goals by combining their training initiatives with the Individual Development Plan (IDP). This will assist in identifying the team’s professional strengths, weaknesses, and potential growth areas. It will consequently lead to accurate staffing and development plans, encourage staff to actively acquire the skills necessary to stay relevant, show up to work, and lower absenteeism.

2.7 Encourage resources to select projects of their interest

If employees’ interests do not match the job requirements, they may grow weary and lethargic and take frequent leaves. This can be avoided if managers ensure that employees’ interests are taken into account while simultaneously identifying and recognizing the organization’s demands.

Organizations can fill open positions with the best available resources based on their interest, skill set, qualifications, etc. This increases employee engagement, motivation, and performance. Employees are more likely to stay with a company in which they see a future for themselves.

Let’s see how a resource management tool effectively addresses workplace absenteeism.

3. How can an advanced resource management tool help?

Saviom‘s resource management software enables organizations to effectively manage and reduce workforce absenteeism. 

• The tool’s enterprise-wide visibility and advanced filters enable managers to identify the right resource for the projects. 

• The forecasting capabilities of the tool help predict resource shortages and surpluses in the long and short term, bridge that gap in advance, and ensure efficient resource allocation. It boosts productivity and engagement, which lowers absenteeism.

• Managers can examine their team’s utilization rates with color-coded heatmaps and utilization reports and take corrective action if workers are over or underutilized. It ensures optimal resource utilization, which may help reduce burnout, boredom, and absenteeism at work.

• The tool’s collaboration function allows real-time communication to start conversations with other team members across various touchpoints, bridging gaps while enhancing employee productivity and connections, encouraging a creative and collaborative work environment, and lowering absenteeism.

• Lastly, managers can use the resource management tool to post open positions. Employees can express their interest in a project and choose the best candidate for the task or project. This allows employees to work on projects of their interest, leading to improved motivation and retention in the workplace.

All these resource management features help address the issue of workforce absenteeism.

4. Conclusion

Unplanned absenteeism results in delayed productivity, subpar products and services, and extra management time. Therefore, businesses should implement appropriate measures to address workplace absenteeism. 

How else would you deal with absenteeism in your organization?