Companies must continue to change their policies and practices to meet the transition towards hybrid and remote employment as workforces increase.

Making sure that absence rules are up to date and effective can assist to reduce the impact of unexpected absences on overall productivity and employee morale.

According to recent research by Cezanne HR and Personnel Today, 56% of workforces are functioning as hybrid or remote teams, demonstrating the continuous trend towards flexible work arrangements in the post-COVID-19 age. However, just 30% of businesses have absence policies that allow for hybrid work, and another 26% are in the process of modifying their policies to better reflect these new working arrangements.

The number of days lost due to short-term unexpected absences has shown a diverse reaction across organisations since the expiration of COVID-19 limitations. Absences have increased in 16% of organizations, while they have decreased in 27%.

Managing short-term absences has proven difficult for 32% of organisations employing hybrid or remote employees, while 14% say it is less difficult in these circumstances. According to the findings of the survey, 42% of respondents regularly track short-term absences of 1-2 days using KPIs or other business indicators.

A stunning 87% of participants believe their staff take ‘sickies’, with 10% assuming this occurs on a regular basis. According to the poll, the most difficult difficulty in managing short-term unexpected absences is line managers failing to enforce absence protocols.

This study emphasises the necessity of good communication between employees and their line managers, as well as the need for more research into how hybrid and remote workforces are managed. Companies may better assist their workers and maintain a healthy, productive work environment by addressing the difficulties and possibilities posed by these new working arrangements.

Paul Bauer, Head of Content at Cezanne HR, said: “With finances squeezed and labour markets becoming tighter, organisations will be looking to operate as efficiently as possible. However, our survey has revealed there are numerous issues preventing HR teams from successfully managing unplanned, short-term absences – especially when it comes to remote and flexibly-working employees.”

Strategies to Reduce Workplace Absences

Offer flexible work arrangements

Offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or flexible hours, is a successful method for minimising absenteeism. Employees can better manage their work-life balance and lessen the need for time off if they have more control over their schedules. Furthermore, remote work can assist individuals in avoiding workplace distractions and increasing overall efficiency.

Encourage employee wellness

Yoga or meditation sessions, access to mental health services, or team-building events that promote physical exercise are all examples of this. Employers may minimise absenteeism and foster a healthy work culture by giving employees tools and resources to manage their stress and well-being.

Communicate clearly with employees

It is critical for businesses to communicate properly with their employees about their attendance standards. This might involve highlighting the repercussions of excessive absence and offering assistance to employees who are experiencing attendance problems. Employees can better manage their calendars and decrease the need for time off if clear instructions and support are provided.

Provide opportunities for professional development

Providing chances for professional growth can also aid in the reduction of absenteeism. Employees are more likely to show up and be productive when they are engaged and feel appreciated in their work. Offering training programmes or mentorship possibilities, as well as opportunities for staff to take on new projects or tasks, can all fall under this category.

Use technology to monitor and manage attendance

Finally, businesses can monitor and regulate employee attendance using technology. This might involve using software solutions to track attendance or adopting biometric attendance methods. While these methods may appear intrusive, they can help employers uncover attendance concerns early on and resolve them before they become serious issues.

Finally, limiting workplace absenteeism is critical for fostering a positive work culture and increasing productivity. Employers can effectively reduce absenteeism rates and create a more productive and engaged workforce by providing flexible work arrangements, promoting employee wellness, communicating clearly with employees, providing opportunities for professional development, and using technology to monitor attendance.

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