As technology makes flexible schedules and working from home realistic options for a growing number of employees,Strategies for Managing Employee Attendance Problems there are still some roles that cannot be effectively fulfilled from alternative work locations.  For businesses that need to have their employees in the office or at another site, attendance problems have a detrimental impact on the bottom line.  Attendance problems encompass excessive absences, arriving to work late and leaving early, and unnecessarily long or frequent breaks. Cumulatively, these habits cost businesses millions of dollars each year in lost productivity and threaten to damage morale among the entire workforce.

While most organizations experience occasional attendance issues with a limited number of employees, pervasive problems involving otherwise responsible individuals may signify underlying causes that represent a greater threat to the company’s success.  For example, employees may be bored with their jobs, suffering from burnout, or affected by strained relationships with coworkers and managers.

Are you concerned that attendance problems may be negatively affecting your profits?  Here are a few strategies for identifying and managing the causes:

1)      Be clear about expectations.  Sometimes, employees are uncertain about the proper procedures for requesting time off, or they do not believe that anyone notices their poor attendance or that it has any impact on the organization.  Clearly explaining when employees are expected to be in the office and the consequences for abusing time off privileges will reduce innocent mistakes.  Be sure that all employees have access to your company’s policies regarding attendance as well as information about state and federal laws regarding their rights, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

2)      Promote and respect work-life balance.  When work duties are constantly infringing upon employees’ personal time, they may become exhausted and even resentful.  In turn, this will cause them to disrespect the employer’s time by taking unjustified days off or coming to work late.

3)      Foster a team mentality in the workforce and take steps to support healthy relationships between supervisors and the team, as well as amongst coworkers.  A poor relationship with a manager is one of the most common reasons that employees leave their jobs.  Company retreats, social outings, team training sessions, and community service events all provide opportunities for employees to get to know one another as individuals and strengthen bonds that can safeguard against workplace conflicts.  When employees do not dread coming to work or even look forward to it, they are far less likely to engage in problematic attendance patterns.

4)      Promote physical and mental well-being in order to reduce absences that are genuinely due to illness.  Consider offering benefits packages that include reduced rates for gym memberships, assistance with losing weight or quitting smoking, and yoga or meditation classes to alleviate stress in a healthy manner.

5)      Make sure that employees know they are valuable to your company by rewarding their hard work and illustrating how their efforts are integral to the organization’s success.  Conversely, explain the negative impact that absenteeism has on the team.  For example, attendance problems may cause coworkers to constantly have to take on the work of the absent employee or frustrate clients with whom the employee interacts, causing them to form a negative opinion of the company.

Creative Business Resources has the expertise to help your business identify the root causes of absenteeism and boost employee morale, creating a workplace that will motivate employees to come to work each day.  Contact CBR to learn more!

(Source:http://www.hr.wa.gov/WorkforceDataAndPlanning/ResearchAndResources/HRManagementIdeaBank/Pages/ManagingAttendanceIssues.aspx).