The Top 5 Causes of Unscheduled Employee Absences

Posted by Lara S. on Apr 22, 2014 7:00:00 AM

Unscheduled absences can be expensive for your business. They leave you short-staffed, can overburden other employees and cause delays. Understansick-personding why unscheduled absences happen can help your organization find ways to reduce their impact. The journal Employee Benefits took a survey of employers and found the top five causes of unplanned absences from work. Read on to what they are and how to avoid them.

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1. Colds, flu and other minor ailments.

Every year, the flu costs the US 100 million workdays as people stay home to combat the bug. University of Michigan researchers determined that the annual cost of the common cold is over $40 million.

The CDC says that the annual flu vaccine can prevent as many as two-thirds of flu; but, since only 34% of adults get the shot, we do not benefit as well as we could. Offering complimentary flu shots as a service to employees can reduce transmission of the virus and reduce unscheduled employee absences.

2. Locomotor system complaints like back painback-pain

Back and neck pain are also factors that can keep workers suffering at home. Many back and neck issues are caused by repetitive stress and poor posture. Improve employee musculoskeletal health by creating ergonomically correct working stations. These cause less stress on employees' backs, which results in lower incidences of back pain.

3. Stress and Mental Health Issues

Stress and home, stress at work and other mental health issues clustered at the middle of the list. Stress can make employees less enthusiastic about work and more likely to take "mental health days" to unwind.

Many employers are helping workers cope through counseling services and other anti-stress measures. In Employee Benefits' survey, 53% of firms reported having some program in place.stress-1

4. Serious Illnesses

The American Diabetes Association says that, in 2012, diabetes cost over $69 billion in lost productivity. People with chronic illnesses are more likely to develop complications and miss days at work.

The good news is that many chronic illnesses can be prevented or cured through lifestyle changes. By enacting employee wellness plans, you can decrease your workers' incidence of these serious illnesses and improve attendance.

5. Work-life Balance Issuesbalance

When employees are unable to find someone to care for a child or an elderly parent, they often have to miss work to handle the responsibility themselves. Sometimes the child is unable to attend school or daycare because he or she is sick; other times, a regular caretaker is unavailable.

Onsite daycare is one possible solution for this type of absenteeism. Researchers at The Consulting Practice at Bright Horizons found that parents felt they had a better work-life balance. They also experienced less stress, which is another common cause of absences. Other employers have experimented with flex-time and work-from-home days to give workers more flexibility.

The reasons for employee absence causes are varied and can't always be controlled by either the employee or your company. But, by enacting policies that make it easier for employees to stay physically and emotionally healthy to increase both their well-being and to reduce absences from work. Pacific Timesheet time off and absence management solutions can help you start to track and control unscheduled employee absences.

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Topics: Time Off Management, Unscheduled absence management

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