What Is Absenteeism?

Absenteeism refers to the habitual absence non-presence of an employee at his or her job. Habitual non-presence goes beyond what would be considered a “normal” amount of days away from the office for legitimate causes, which includes vacation days, sick days or family emergencies. 

While the majority of employers know workers are going to miss time at work, excessive absences can have a big impact on the company’s productivity, causing it to decrease and affect finances, morale and other factors. 

What Causes Absenteeism?

Employees miss work for a lot of different reasons, some of them are legitimate absences, others are not. Some of the most common causes of absenteeism include;

  • Childcare And Eldercare – Employees that have children and elderly family members may be forced to miss work due to illness, snow days, accidents or a sick caregiver.
  • Bullying And Harassment – If an employee is being bullied or harassed by someone at work, they may call in sick to avoid the situation. 
  • Illness – Injuries, illness and medical appointments are one of the top common reported reasons employees miss work. The cold and flu season is the worst period, forcing a lot of employees to call in sick.
  • Depression – Did you know the leading cause of absenteeism here in the United States is depression? It’s true, this according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Depression can also lead to someone abusing drugs or alcohol.
  • Injuries – Accidents can occur at the worksite and away from the worksite, which often results in time missed. While most of these injuries are acute, chronic injuries such as back and neck pain can also force employees to miss work.
  • Stress And Low Morale – If employees are overworked, underappreciated and work is stressful for them, why would they want to attend work? 
  • Disengagement – Employees that are not committed to the company are more likely to miss work versus employees that are dedicated to the company’s mission.
  • Looking For A New Job – Employees that are looking for a new job may miss work to attend a job interview or meet up with a potential employer.
  • No Commitment – Employees that leave work early, show up late or take longer breaks than normal will hurt your company’s productivity. This can also affect the morale of your employees.

The Costs Of Lost Productivity

Since the lost of productivity directly relates to “costs” for a company, we wanted to reference an important survey that gives you an idea how much lost productivity can cost a business. 

The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index surveyed 94,000 employees across 14 major occupations in the United States. They found that 77 percent of workers fit the survey’s definition of having a chronic health condition, which would be;

  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Attack
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Obesity

In total, the annual costs related to lost productivity totaled $84 billion.

As it pertains directly to absenteeism, the survey found that it varies by industry, the greatest losses can be found in professional occupations (excluding nurses, physicians, teachers).

According to the survey, the annual cost of lost production by major U.S. occupations include;

  • Professional (Excluding Nurses, Teachers, Physicians) – $24.2 Billion
  • Managers And Executives – $15.7 Billion
  • Service Workers – $8.5 Billion
  • Clerical And Office – $8.1 Billion
  • Sales – $6.8 Billion
  • Schools And Teachers (K-12) – $5.6 Billion
  • Nurses – $3.6 Billion
  • Transportation – $3.5 Billion
  • Manufacturing And Production – $2.8 Billion
  • Business Owners – $2.0 Billion

The costs associated with absenteeism can be caused by several different factors;

  • Wages Paid To Absent Employees
  • Overtime Pay To Replace Absent Employees
  • Admin Costs To Manage Absenteeism
  • More Management Hours – To Replace Lost Employee Time
  • Poor Morale In The Company Due To Missed Work
  • Reduced Productivity Due To Missing Employees
  • Poor Services Or Products Due To Overtime Or Fatigue
  • Safety Issues That Are A Result From Tired Employees

How Do We Address Absenteeism?

There’s no question about it, absenteeism is a tough problem to tackle. After all, employees miss work for both good and bad reasons. On top of that, it’s difficult to monitor absenteeism if you don’t have the right tools in place. Fortunately for companies that are experiencing absenteeism, there are things you can do to reduce absenteeism.

Employee Wellness Programs

Employee wellness programs are a great idea to reduce absenteeism and its been proven to do just that. Here at Kadalyst, we help employers launch and manage an employee wellness program. How can a wellness program reduce absenteeism?

Employee worksite wellness programs have been well documented to provide a number of benefits for your organization. When done right, it supports a culture and environment employees want to be a part of, one that enriches the lives of your employees and their families. 

Wellness programs can help increase productivity as employees will have higher morale, less stress and taking part of living a healthier life. When employees feel better, they’re more productive. 

Employee wellness programs also build strong communities within your organization. These programs offer incentives, giving employees the opportunity to be rewarded for not missing work. 

With Kadalyst on your team, you get a dedicated wellness coordinator team that handles every aspect to ensure your team is happy and healthy.

You already know that every great business strategy starts with a great plan. Building, launching and managing your wellness program is no different. Here at Kadalyst, we follow a 6 step launch plan.

  1. Written Program Plan
  2. Wellness Committee
  3. Launch Activities And Education
  4. Wellness Satisfaction Survey
  5. Collecting Data
  6. Reviewing Goals And Objectives

While every great employee health and wellness program has many layers, your program will greatly benefit having a professional wellness team by your side. Your employee wellness team will help support your organization through;

  • Designing Your Wellness Plan
  • Wellness Committee Facilitation
  • Target Messaging And Communication
  • Activity Verifications
  • Social Challenge Configuration
  • Wellness Event Coordination
  • Benefits And Resources
  • New Internal Policy Development
  • And much, much more

If that wasn’t enough, your wellness team also helps with;

  • Program Marketing
  • Health Campaigns
  • Health Education
  • Employer IT Support

If you want to learn more about our wellness program, let us know here.

Another reason employee wellness programs are so effective at reducing absenteeism is due to the incentives offered to employees, which we touched on briefly above. Many wellness programs give incentives to employees that constantly show up for work. By offering incentives, your employees will be encouraged to meet those objectives so they can be rewarded. Furthermore, employees feel appreciated when they have opportunities at work that benefit them or their family.

Absenteeism is always a challenge for employers as there’s many root causes to blame. Even if your company requires doctor’s excuses, it can still be difficult to know if employees are missing work due to being sick or just missing because they want too.

Absenteeism costs companies billions of dollars every year and if it’s a concern for your company, you need to take the steps needed to reduce absenteeism in your organization.

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