Did you know that ‘rewarding’ good attendance was previously considered a commonplace solution for absenteeism? Due to its discriminatory nature, however (it disadvantages employees who cannot attend work due to a personal illness, injury, pregnancy, religious holiday, etc.) you will seldom see this practice in any modern workplace.
If the option to reward attendance is out, what can we do to combat absenteeism at work? We’ve put together a few tips for you if this has been an issue or you want to pro-actively prevent it from becoming an issue in your workplace.
1. Set clear goals and objectives to ensure your employees are always working towards something.
Motivated employees are less likely to call in sick if they have a specific goal or target they’re working towards. If possible, try to align the goals with the employee’s passions and interests where you can. For example, team member Ellen may prefer a research project over a face-face presentation, so offer her this component of a project instead.
2. Offer flexibility
In 2017, the Nous group conducted a case study on three large organisations in Victoria. Unsurprisingly, all three organisations experienced a positive return on investment in offering flexible work – the largest being Wannon Water, who experienced an estimated $150k annual net saving. This study proves that employees, particularly those with family/caring responsibilities, really value the flexibility that allows them to balance their responsibilities with work.
While you have a legal obligation to consider flexible working arrangement requests for employees who meet certain criteria, consider offering all employees flexibility such as the option to work a 9 day fortnight, or flexible starting and finishing times. You could introduce this option slowly to minimise any impact on your business operations, or for a trial period to start with.
3. No work emails or calls post office hours.
Employees who are not “logging” off from work are at risk of becoming overworked and burnt out. France is leading the way when in 2017 they introduced a law allowing all employees a “right to disconnect.” This means that companies in France now need to stipulate when employees should not send or answer emails (e.g. on weekends, off days, after hours.) A company culture around logging off, and a small amendment to your workplace policies can help minimise the risk of staff burning out and taking unplanned days off to recover.