It’s a rare employee who never misses a day of work. Inevitably, something comes up—illness, injury, sick kids, or personal business—that requires a worker to be away from the job. Occasional missed days are understandable, and their impact on your business is minimal.

When missing work becomes habitual, however, it can’t be ignored. Intentional absence from work affects productivity and hurts the employees who are asked to pick up the slack. Because missed work days profoundly affect finances, morale, and other factors, it makes good business sense to employ strategies to scrutinize, reduce and respond to absenteeism.

Leading causes of absenteeism

Workers miss time for many reasons, some are legitimate, and others are questionable. Some of the more common causes include:

  • Illness: The most commonly reported reason for being absent, illnesses during cold and flu season always cause a spike in absenteeism.
  • Injuries: Back problems are a common cause of missed work.
  • Bullying: No, it doesn’t always stop when you leave school. Harassment from co-workers and bosses leads to workers staying at home.
  • Stress: People avoid going to work when they are burned out from heavy workloads or stress outside of work.
  • Depression: The National Institute of Mental Health reports that depression is the leading cause of absenteeism.

This list is far from being all-inclusive, but it indicates that absenteeism is a complex issue that can’t be resolved with a simple solution.

The high cost of absenteeism

Unscheduled absenteeism costs approximately $3,600 per year for each hourly worker and $2,650 each year for salaried employees. This adds up to $84 billion for wages paid to absent workers, replacement workers, and the administrative costs for managing absenteeism.

These staggering figures show why employers can’t afford to disregard the problem of absenteeism. Here are a few thoughts.

What companies can do to overcome the problem

Absenteeism is a challenge. There are legitimate reasons for missing work. Companies must be aware that sick workers can spread their illnesses to other workers or even to customers. On the other hand, missing work for no good reason can be expensive in many ways.

Some businesses are using paid sick leaves, in which each employee receives a specified number of days per year to use during an illness. Proponents of sick days point to the economic advantages of not having a sick employee spreading a disease throughout a plant or office. Opponents argue that the policy will end up costing businesses more money and encourage workers to use their days for reasons other than illness.

Other companies have chosen to use incentives for showing up—time off for those who have no unexcused absences within a given period, for instance. A more proactive approach is instituting policies that respond to workers’ health concerns such as their physical and psychological health, economic worries, and work-life balance. These programs and policies are based on the belief that healthy and happy employees are more likely to show up for work every day.

How can we help you?

Finding great employees is more important than ever. Let us help you. Stride Staffing is committed to teaming with great companies and candidates.  Contact us to learn more or request a consultation today!