Staff absenteeism runs a great cost. Find some methods to combat staff absenteeism at the office.


Staff absenteeism can cost money for large and small businesses alike.  Although absenteeism among staff members is lower for companies that have fewer than one hundred employees, every business is affected by sick days.  The rates of absenteeism in the workplace are on the rise.  As a business owner, there are several steps that one can take to cut back on staff absences. 

The first step is to determine the cause of absenteeism among staff members.  Certainly some days missed are due to illness, but many businesses find that employees use illness as an excuse when it is not the case.  Business owners may discover that employees take a full day off because they need to attend an appointment or an event for their child.  Stress in the workplace is a large contributor to some employees’ urge to miss a day of work.  The need to be away from the office or a co-worker can outweigh the need to complete a task or a project.  Often, the stress in the workplace can come from a supervisor or manager.  Finally, low job satisfaction has been found to be a cause of absenteeism.  Doing a repetitive or boring job on a daily basis does not challenge the employee or use the skills he or she offers.  

Discovering the causes of absenteeism in your office can be done by soliciting some anonymous feedback.  Only each employee will be able to truthfully report why he or she took any unexcused days away from work.  Combined with the knowledge you gain from surveying your staff, look at specific departments that show high rates of absenteeism.  In this case, the supervisor may be the problem. 

If you find that one particular supervisor has a higher rate of absenteeism in his or her department, training the supervisor on how to prevent absenteeism as well as on how to communicate properly with employees could solve the problem. 

To prevent illness, a company could offer in-office flu vaccinations before flu season.  Also, a fitness area in the building or a discounted gym membership for staff can help build immune systems as well as help to reduce stress.  

Remember to treat employees with respect at all times.  Staying in touch with your employees about their work environment and their career aspirations can help open lines of communication, and could offer the possibility to meet the needs of your staff by providing challenging tasks for each employee. 

Flexible scheduling can be effective in reducing absenteeism.  Giving a staff member the ability to miss two hours in the middle of the day and make up that time at a later date could allow him to attend a performance at his child’s school and prevent him taking the entire day off.  

Also, consider incentives the company could offer to employees with good attendance records.  These could include an extra holiday of their choice or monetary compensation.  Although the company would incur a cost for these incentives, the cost could be far less than the cost of high rates of staff absenteeism.

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit


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