Skip to content

Absenteeism - How To Fight Absenteeism

There has been a recent rise in employee absenteeism and employee dissatisfaction that is negatively affecting several aspects of the workplace, including employee engagement, morale, loyalty, and productivity, among others.

A recent CareerBuilder study showed that 40% of workers who called in sick were lying, and nearly 30% of those who had time off in a fiscal year still felt the need to lie about being sick in order to take more time off. 

While employers might be quick to start making a list of rules regarding absenteeism, taking a strict approach may be missing the point. What industry leaders are beginning to recognize is a fundamental problem that has to do with chronic stress, burnout, and employee dissatisfaction, which all contribute to growing absenteeism rates.

This article will outline how employers can begin to address the real problems with employee absenteeism and combat absenteeism effectively.

What is employee absenteeism?

When we talk about employee absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace, we’re not talking about the occasional sick day or “emergency” notice. We’re talking about the widespread tendency that the corporate world is seeing regarding the drop in employee attendance without valid excuses.

Increased employee absenteeism contributes negatively to the workplace in the following ways:

  • A drop in employee productivity 
  • Lower employee engagement rates
  • When employees see their peers taking unexcused days off, you can expect to see a drop in employee morale and loyalty
  • When employees are absent and roles aren’t filled, you can expect your ability to function as an organization to drop, which translates to drops in profits and overall efficacy
  • Absenteeism leads to other employees being strained by the need to fill in for their coworkers 
  • Absenteeism can negatively affect customer satisfaction and the customer experience

There are concrete negative effects to employee absenteeism, but it’s important to remember that absenteeism is a symptom of a deeper and more serious issue. When your employees feel the need to lie to take days off, it’s a good indication that employee satisfaction and wellbeing are on the decline, and it’s up to you to reverse that trend. 

Ways to fix absenteeism 

The best way to fix absenteeism is to address the source. Employees who are healthy, happy, recharged, and connected will naturally feel less inclined to take unwarranted days off. Below are some concrete and practical steps to start combating absenteeism in the workplace today.

  • Implement a wellbeing program
    • One of the quickest and most effective ways to boost employee morale, productivity, engagement, and satisfaction is to implement a robust wellbeing program. Modern wellbeing programs that take a multi-pronged approach can help employees fulfill every aspect of their wellbeing goals, including fitness and nutrition, sleep, finance, mental health, and more. 
  • Offer vacation days and paid-time off
    • If employees are taking unapproved time off on their own accord, it might be a good indication that they do not have enough vacation days and paid leave. Within the US, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require paid leave for employees, which means the onus is on companies and employers to offer a fair amount of paid-time off. Fair vacation time is a great way to be competitive in the hiring market, boost employee morale, and lower the rate of absenteeism. 
  • Consider flexible hours
    • The trend toward a hybrid work week is here to stay, with or without the COVID-19 pandemic. The numbers around the hybrid work week are in, and there really isn’t any ambiguity on the issue: workers like hybrid and remote work environments. By giving employees what they want and improving their work-life balance, you’ll likely see less cases of employee absenteeism.
  • Create a healthier workplace
    • Whether you’re addressing a toxic work environment or simply finding ways to create a more welcoming and inclusive workplace, creating a healthier workplace will lead to lower instances of absenteeism. When employees feel welcomed in their work environment and when employers invest in the wellbeing of their workers, your employees will be more ready and more excited to come into work. 

If there are any advantages of absenteeism, it’s that employers have a clear indication of the health, wellbeing, and happiness of their employees. How employees behave, how productive they are, and how present they are in the workplace are all indicators as to how well employers are doing at creating a vibrant work culture. 

If employers are going to retain their workers and allow their company to thrive, they need to invest in the wellbeing of their employees and create an inclusive workplace for everyone. 

How Grokker can help fight absenteeism in the workplace

When workers are overworked, stressed, and burnt out, it’s hard for them to take the space they need to rest and recharge. That’s why wellbeing programs, like Grokker, have created stand-alone platforms that help employees take charge of their life and their wellbeing, anytime and anywhere. 

Grokker helps employees achieve their fitness, nutrition, and other wellbeing goals while simultaneously connecting them to a community of wellbeing experts and other workers.

An investment in the health and wellbeing of your employees is an investment in the health and wellbeing of your company. Click here to try a Grokker demo today.



Caring For Remote Employees

Many organizations continue to work in remote and hybrid models as the pandemic winds down, but many employees, when given the option to return to work, would actually prefer to continue working remotely. Our new guide, Taking Care of Remote Employees: The Key To Business Success Beyond the Pandemic, gives you actionable steps to ensure that your employees feel supported no matter where they are working. 

Download your guide