September 17, 2018 It is difficult for teams to be fully productive when you’re a member down, especially in these days of incredibly collaborative work and tight budgets. There are rarely enough hands available to get through the work when you’re fully staffed, much less when one or two key members are missing from your team. While absenteeism is usual and expected in any workplace, it costs organizations over $500 billion annually in lost productivity. This is caused by a variety of factors such as excessive stress, sickness or even policies that are not fairly enforced for individuals across the organization. These 5 tips are aimed at helping you boost your overall productivity by reducing unexpected absenteeism in the workplace. 1. Enforce Policies Fairly Do you have some departments that seem a little loose with their application of paid time off policies? Perhaps one specific team leader is more liberal of their application of the rules. This can cause negativity and bad feelings throughout the organization. Flexibility is fine as long as there is flexibility built into the system for everyone. For instance, nearly 60% of HR directors found that having a flexible working arrangement caused greater productivity in their workforce. Having one supervisor allowing teams to take their vacation in 2-hour increments when everyone else must use a full day is one way that rules can be applied unfairly. However, if your policy states that supervisors have permission to grant this type of request, be sure that all supervisors are aware. Encourage them to be consistent from team to team. Employees will almost certainly notice that some supervisors are more liberal with time off, and consider a few extra sick days their “due” — taking the days off whether or not they technically need them. 2. Reconsider Your Vacation Policy Are your staff members getting away from the office long enough to truly recharge? An overworked and overtired staff member is not nearly as effective as one who is fully refreshed and ready to hit it hard. If your vacation policy is incredibly tight, you may be making it more difficult for employees to truly enjoy their time away. That can lead to ongoing negativity and feelings of frustration that can’t be washed away during a long weekend break. Try offering only a few additional days of vacation time for your staff. Review policies to make them as liberal as possible without negatively impacting business. This shows staff members that the organization cares about their stress levels. DOWNLOAD NOW8 Ways to Reduce Employee Benefits Costs 3. Reward Positive Behaviors to Reduce Absenteeism There are some people that seem to show up every day with a smile on their face no matter what. Who always roll over sick time (or donates it to others!). Who are on time and who generally go above and beyond what is expected of them. They are the people who may not take a sick day simply because they have it available, but rather only when they truly need it. Why not consider rewarding these positive behaviors with a small bonus? One thing to consider would be an extra day off after going a certain number of months with no unplanned absences. Some organizations offer employees this incentive to have their birthday off from work, to celebrate with friends and family. When positive behavior is acknowledged, it tends to spread — with employees encouraging each other to reduce absenteeism. 4. Allow Flexible Working Hours While not all businesses or all positions are available for remote work, there are a surprising number of tasks that can be completed outside of a traditional 8-to-6 workday or when away from the office. Even managers are finding that remote work is surprisingly effective on a limited basis. Self-directed employees are able to continue their tasks while the manager can hunker down during budget season, for instance. There are many situations at home that require your staff’s physical presence unexpectedly, such as a water main that breaks or a furniture delivery that can’t be rescheduled for after-hours. Instead of someone taking an entire day off, they could easily work from home for a portion of the day. 5. Use Your EAP Let’s face it. There are some days when none of us feel like going to work. It could be because of depression, financial troubles, marital or family challenges and more. When your employees are encouraged to utilize your EAP (Employee Assistance Program), you may find that they’re able to get the help that they so desperately need without resorting to excessive absenteeism. Some staff members are not comfortable with this concept, while others find it extremely helpful. An ongoing education program that shows the benefits of this often-free program can help your team members to take advantage of the tools that are offered for their support. Absenteeism is a huge expense for organizations throughout the country. When you look for ways to reduce these costs, you’re helping your business excel as well as providing a healthy and attractive place of business for your team. We’ve created a free checklist, 8 Ways to Reduce Employee Benefits Costs Without Compromising Coverage, to help you along the way. DOWNLOAD NOW8 Ways to Reduce Employee Benefits Costs For benefits support, contact the professionals at Employers Select Insurance Services today at 916-248-4777.