If you’re a business owner, the last thing you want to deal with is excessive employee absences. Nevertheless, it’s an unfortunate reality in the workplace. With more than half of American workers said to be taking some time off in their jobs each year, there are many times when your employees will be out of work for one reason or another.
Legally speaking, there is a recommended reading for employers on this topic, including the legally-protected rights many eligible employees have when it comes to filing for work leaves. But before you brush up on your state’s time off policies, bear in mind that there are simple steps you can do to make sure employee absences are handled in the best and most appropriate way possible.
Curious about how unchecked absences in the workplace may affect your company? Listed below are 7 ways employee absences may negatively impact your business operations and the best ways to deal with them.
1. Reduced Productivity Of The Remaining Staff
When one or more employees are away from work; it reduces the level of productivity and efficiency of the remaining staff members. They may have to do multiple tasks themselves or ask others for help in completing their workloads.
For instance, if one of your employees calls out sick, their workload is divided among the other employees who are present during that time. More so, it could involve even more people taking time off to help complete that individual’s tasks or more people having to stay late. This may eat up valuable time that they could be spending to accomplish their primary tasks.
2. Missed Deadlines
Missed deadlines are one of the biggest problems associated with employees’ absences. Whether due to the reduced productivity mentioned above or because another employee wasn’t aware that they were supposed to take on some of the absent individual’s work; consecutive missed deadlines are a scenario you never want happening under your watch.
It’s essential to train your employees as much as possible to serve as backups for one another if need be. Be sure you inform them of changes that will be happening and the overall impact those developments will have on their work. This way, you can ensure everyone is up-to-date and fully prepared should something like this ever happen.
3. Increased Need For Overtime Work
Overtime work can be costly. If your employees are working extra hours to make up for the tasks they missed while absent, they lose the opportunity to spend time off work resting or spending with their families. You end up paying more in hourly wages and additional taxes too. Long-term overtime also negatively affects overall motivation and productivity amongst workers which can cost you even more if it continues to be a problem.
When employees call out for a sick day or take a vacation, you must have backup plans in place. Use employees who work part-time to help handle your overflow and train them ahead of time so they’ll come in handy during employee absences.
4. Decreased Morale Among Employees
Absences can also affect morale among your employees. They may feel their workloads are increasing while others are getting days off; hence, they may become unmotivated. It can be hard to detect at first, but it’s time to take immediate action if you notice that one or two people seem unhappy while at work.
Make sure you remind your employees that you appreciate their work and make sure they understand the benefits of having backup plans in place. For example, if one person is sick or on vacation; they’ll come back to a lighter workload, making them much happier than before.
5. Inconvenienced Or Dissatisfied Customers
When you can’t provide the level of service that your customers expect, they may get displeased and irate. Whether it’s not fulfilling an order due to lack of human resources or waiting longer than usual for assistance in a store, if customers don’t receive the proper treatment in a timely fashion, they’ll take their business or seek services elsewhere. It could result in the loss of future sales and a hard hit to your revenue.
Customer dissatisfaction is one of the most severe consequences associated with employee absences. When your employees are all present and able to handle their assigned tasks, your company can serve customers faster and more efficiently, which results in higher client satisfaction levels.
6. Extra Expenses
Regardless of whether your employees are absent due to personal reasons, vacations, or sick days; you may find yourself spending extra monetary funds. Overtime work may require higher electricity consumption, office utility bills, and other related expenses. These added costs can easily impact your company’s profitability and cash flow.
The best way to prevent these additional expenses is to ensure that your employees can handle everything independently. Train them ahead of time and ensure they know what the workflow entails, so you never have to worry about changes in your daily operations or increased costs.
7. Fostering Negative Company Culture
Your company culture is one of the most valuable aspects of your organization. It’s what sets you apart from others and gives your employees a sense of pride and motivation when working for your business. Even one absence can damage your hard work in establishing a great company culture.
For instance, if you notice that one of your employees always takes the same number of days off while their colleagues are present, you may find yourself in a difficult situation. You don’t want to single out that individual, but at the same time, they’re setting a negative example for others.
If nobody notices why this person is frequently absent; it sends the message that it’s okay for others to do the same. They may follow suit because they might believe that there are no consequences for taking too many vacation days off.
To prevent the abovementioned scenario, have a company-wide and fair attendance policy and guidelines for everybody to follow.
When it comes down to it, missing an employee can be a big blow for your business operations, so you want to avoid it as much as possible. By ensuring your employees are adequately trained, you can significantly reduce the risk of long-term absenteeism and ensure their satisfaction levels remain high.
Finally, you mustn’t let the idea of having an absent employee slow down your workflow or hurt your customer experience. Keep the mentioned tips beforehand in mind to ensure this doesn’t happen. If you need additional help, consider revisiting your current protocols to improve on certain provisions that seem to promote a culture of absenteeism amongst your personnel.