A 2018 report (https://www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com/latest-news/blogs/2018/11/how-much-is-absenteeism-costing-your-business/) mentioned that in the UK only, the total economic cost of workers taking time off will reach 28.7 billion EUR by 2030.
Given the impact of the pandemic and the enormous rise in absence rates which have been witnessed, I won’t be surprised if this figure will be much higher.
This does not only cause huge workforce problems for organisations and HR staff, but also leads to rising costs.
Absenteeism refers to an employee's habitual absence from work, regardless of the reason. This is usually unplanned, for example, when someone falls ill. The key to this definition is that the person was scheduled to work, hence it excludes authorized leaves or paid time off.
There are various reasons which can lead to workplace absenteeism. The situation really becomes alarming when more and more employees start making excessive absences without any clear reason.
When morale is low, employees will start switching off and become disengaged. This leads to less productivity and higher absenteeism rates: employees who don’t enjoy their work or don’t feel appreciated become disengaged and find ways to be absent from their work.
Developing and nurturing an inclusive culture, a culture where everyone can bring his own self to work and feels appreciated, is a great way to reduce absenteeism.
Catalyst mentioned in their 2020 research report (https://www.catalyst.org/research/why-diversity-and-inclusion-matter/#easy-footnote-bottom-13-6361) that “a 10% increase in perceptions of inclusion improves absenteeism, adding nearly one day a year in work attendance per employee.” One day might not seem much, but multiplying it by x employees for an organisation and the result has a considerable positive impact on absenteeism costs and productivity.
Managing absenteeism should always be a priority for organisations, but this is even more the case when you notice there is something going on in your organisation, if for example:
➡️ Morale starts to decrease
➡️ It is clear that team members can’t get along
➡️ Signals of workplace bullying are brought to your attention
➡️ Absenteeism rates are becoming excessive
One way to really do something about workplace absenteeism is to uncover the root causes leading to this issue. Knowing what your employees think about their workplace, leadership, talent development and culture will give you more insight into the reasons leading to absenteeism. With that knowledge, you can really work on solutions!
Is workplace absenteeism an issue for your organisation? If so, what is being done to turn the tide?