Factors Influencing Absenteeism in a Workplace

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Childcare disruptions are a common but sometimes manageable cause of employee absenteeism.
Childcare disruptions are a common but sometimes manageable cause of employee absenteeism. (Image: Goran Bogicevic/iStock/Getty Images)

Employee absenteeism is a major burden to a workplace and employers. When employees miss work, they are unable to collaborate with work teams and to complete tasks and assignments. The costs of missed work and opportunities affect a company's bottom line. Many companies offer wellness programs to encourage good health among employees. However, other critical factors influence absenteeism in a workplace.

Illness/Injury

Personal illness and injury are among the leading causes of workplace absenteeism. Workplace stress may contribute to both these issues. Many companies offer wellness programs and health training for employees to proactively combat the impact of illness on absenteeism. Additionally, workplaces that pose significant safety risks for employees should make safety training and safety standards priorities to reduce the number of injuries on the job.

Childcare Issues

Companies that employ a significant number of parents have higher risks of absenteeism since parents have childcare responsibilities to consider. Along with personal illness, family illness or problems are a common cause of absenteeism. Parents that rely on childcare providers face a burden when a provider is sick or not in operation on a given work day and some struggle to find a backup option and must miss work. Some employers offer a type of subsidized backup care program for employees in a bind so they can get to work.

Work Relationships

General working conditions are a common influence on workplace absenteeism. Stressful relationships with co-workers, supervisors and managers may lead to absenteeism as employees may miss work to avoid dealing with fear, anger or other stresses associated with a dysfunctional relationship. Companies that promote an atmosphere of acceptance and offer internal conflict resolution processes m,ay find that they reduce these kinds of problems.

Authoritarian Management Styles

Authoritarian management styles may influence levels of workplace absenteeism. Managers that are controlling, bossy, micro-managing and who do not value input from employees often cause increased stress for their employees. Employees may feel overwhelmed by impossible goals, rigid or poor communication, and the general burden of having little ability to make decisions and work with autonomy. Some employees miss work just to avoid dealing with a manager. However, actual physical and emotional illnesses can occur if the associated stress is too high. Companies can offer management training and coaching to help prevent these issues.

Positive Influences

Not all influences on workplace absenteeism are negative. Companies often do proactive and positive things to reduce workplace absenteeism, thus saving themselves money. Some companies offer incentives to employees for achieving certain health levels or maintaining certain standards of attendance and performance. Offering attendance incentives may have expenses, but the costs are probably modest compared to the expense of significant missed work days. Just tracking attendance can have positive effects on absenteeism as employees are more aware that their presence is important.

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