Tips For Reducing Absenteeism in the Workplace

By Melania Armento

Published 11 September 2020

Stress and burnout are becoming increasingly common issues that employers and employees alike are having to learn how to deal with. Between 2012 and 2017,54 percent of adults in the US said they suffered from high stress – and it’s a number that keeps on rising year on year.

For businesses, that can have serious consequences. If we look at the issue from a purely economic standpoint, worse health means a less effective workforce who take more time off sick and cause your business more money.

As in so many areas, the global coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating the problem. With so many employees operating at home rather than in the office, it’s become almost impossible to keep track of your workers’ wellbeing and health.

In this article, we’ll unpack the ways that you can reduce workplace absenteeism from a distance – plus, how you can use software to reach those goals. In particular, working with a corporate wellness program that offers a complete fitness and health solution, like Virtuagym, could transform the stress levels of your workforce.

How to reduce absenteeism in the workplace

But first, how can absenteeism affect productivity anyway? And why is absenteeism a problem for employers?

Well, not only does absenteeism cause a financial strain on your business. But it also reduces the performance of your employees in the long-run. Their morale in the workplace worsens and they lose time on projects, training, and crucial company updates.

Now you know why absenteeism and burnout are such important topics to tackle, we’ll outline the core ways any business owner can start preventing absenteeism in the workplace and reduce it long-term.

  • Implement an employee assistance program

If you haven’t done this already, initiating an employee assistance program could be the key for starting to reduce absenteeism in the workplace of your company. What is an employee assistance program?

Well, the name is on the tin! It’s a workplace initiative that helps your employees out with any stress and struggles that they are facing. The most important thing is that they are encouraged to find help with all difficulties and not just those that are directly related to their jobs.

Usually, an employee assistance program will offer free and confidential advice and support, often this will come in the form of a counsellor, follow up services, and even outside referrals.

By offering these services you may be able to intervene early and prevent burnout and absenteeism before it happens.

Employee assistance programs are often extended to assist the families of your employees as ultimately this can have a strong impact on the stress levels of your employees themselves.

The most important thing is that these services remain confidential. Your employees must be able to trust in your company’s discretion and confidence for a program like this to work.

  • Provide a safe space for employees with software

Using a software solution such as Virtuagym is one impactful way to take care of the health of your employees. If your employees are struggling with issues such as high stress and burnout, simply providing a safe, online space for them to connect with fellow employees could be the key to preventing absenteeism.

In this way your workers can discuss solutions to the issues they are facing, even while at a distance.

  • Use software to help employees unwind

If you work with a software solution such as Virtuagym, you could provide your employees with not just this community, but also easy access to workouts, plus meditations and audio tracks that assist with sleep and winding down.

The important thing is to make it as easy as possible for your employees to destress in the evenings.

  • Learn what motivates your people

Another way to reduce absenteeism in the workplace is to really understand the people who work for you. What drives them? What motivates them?

This could be something as simple as ensuring that the day-to-day projects and tasks they are involved in are suited to their enjoyment and capabilities, to surveying your employee’s satisfaction, or taking steps to improve their motivation.

Frame your company or team strategies in a way that appeals and resonates with the individual worker – and don’t be afraid to pivot on your approach if you see that it isn’t motivating enough to produce great results.

Most importantly? Ask your employees questions to reduce absenteeism. Happy employees are less likely to suffer from high stress and burnout. How do they like to work? What do they like to wear to the office? Perhaps moving around some furniture or creating an open working office space could be the key to your absenteeism issues.

  • Use digital challenges to keep employees engaged

Exercise is a proven way to reduce stress levels and keep people fit and healthy. Those who do not exercise are at a higher risk of suffering from mental health problems and burning out more quickly.

By incorporating a wellness solution that allows employees to work out with one another and become competitive, you make it easier for them to work out and stay motivated to look after their health and wellness. In turn, this will lead to a stronger, happier workforce that takes less time off sick.

  • Consider remote working

The pandemic has taught us that most businesses are able to function well, even while their workers are at a distance. Consider the benefits of working remotely for your business and figure out how you could implement remote or flexible working.

Studies have shown that employees who work remotely are on average happier and stay in their jobs much longer.

  • Check-in with them frequently

Whether you’re operating from within an office space or remotely, it’s important to check-in with your employees on a regular basis. Working remotely does make this even more crucial, however, because employees may end up feeling disconnected from the team and company without consistent contact.

Encourage managers to set up one-to-one meetings with their team members bi-weekly or monthly, to ensure that everything is going well.

You should have a well-trained HR team, ready to step in when they spot employee dissatisfaction and you could send out frequent customer satisfaction surveys. This can give you a general idea of whether or not your teams are feeling overworked, stressed, and burnt out, and could help you stave off absenteeism before it hits.

  • Use software to check-in with your people

Your wellness app can also be used to check-in with your workforce to. There is an option to poll employees via your community feature.

This is a great way to check-in with workers that are working from home and as such are a little more difficult to reach. Make your employees feel listened to and heard, and you are more likely to spot the signs of burnout early-on and reduce absenteeism in your business.

Melania Armento

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