Absence is a common issue that can be found in the workplace where employees fail to report to work or to remain at work as scheduled. Every employee is bound to be absent one day or more in a year, regardless of the type and position of the employee. A CIPD Absence Survey conducted in 2013 states that “in relation to unauthorized absence, people are absent from work for an average of 7.6 days a year with workplace absenteeism back up to the levels observed in 2010 and 2011”. Although it is common for companies to expect absences from their workers because there will be instances which employees may not be able to attend work full-time, however absenteeism issues will continue to escalate if the management do not know how to manage the issue while employees adopt a casual attitude towards absenteeism by abusing the system.
Planned absences include holidays, vacations, paid time off, personal annual leaves, but they are usually scheduled and approved in advance by the employer, making it manageable. Next is unplanned absences which are disappearances from work unexpectedly due to sickness, compassionate leaves for family’s death, disability, unpaid leaves, family medical issues and etc. The last type is partial absences, which involve lateness, early departure without permission of the employer, running errands during office hours, taking unapproved long breaks, failing to remain on duty at the work site and many more. To be able to manage absenteeism in the workplace, first an employer needs to identify and categorize the causes for absenteeism because there are a few types of absences to begin with. Typically, absences can be categorized into 3 types that include planned, unplanned and partial absences.
Out of the three, planned absences are the easiest to deal with because with the leaves being planned ahead of time, the company can easily remedy the situation by adjusting schedules and staffing solutions to ensure smooth operations and lessen the impact on productivity. The problem usually occurs with the other two types as sudden disappearance from work or leaving early due to unforeseen circumstances can disrupt operation, negatively impact a department’s ability to provide services, hamper productivity, cause delays and understaffing that will cost the company more money than it should.
This is where time attendance tools and data comes in handy for a company to find solution to this conundrum. Before the arrival of sophisticated time and attendance analytics systems, companies had limited tools to help track and manage workplace absenteeism. Having accurate time attendance data like TimeTec in hand and on site that specifies Leave Management, Holiday Management, Tardiness and Breaks accurately helps the company to better assess the core of the problems and find the solutions to effectively react in real time to manage staffing issues, forecast and plan for absenteeism.
TimeTec provides tardiness report and highlight it for management’s review. TimeTec offers 26 pre-configured reports for management use.
From the data and reports, companies can come up with a series of questions that would help them easily arrive at determining patterns, find solutions and draw conclusions to eliminate absenteeism. Here is an example of some sample questions to be asked as below:
- How often do the staff take Unplanned Absences on Sundays and Thursday?
- How often does the issue above occur when long holidays are involved?
- How often do the staff take Sick Leaves and for how long?
- What kind of sickness is often reported?
- How often do they take Emergency Leaves and for what reasons?
- What is the frequency of the staff taking a few hours off working hours to do personal tasks like bringing their children to the clinic, registering children to school and etc.?
- How to identify the number of days the staff takes Medical Leave?
- From which category of staff does tardiness usually occur?
- Who usually take longer breaks?
- What time does the majority of staff usually arrive in the morning?
When data mining and analysis is complete, the underlying problem can be easily highlighted and identified to initiate a proper approach which could benefit companies tremendously. By having the data, a company can standardize its current attendance policy to further address the existing problems. For example, a policy can be implemented as such: Planned Leaves must require the notification and authorization of an immediate superior and must be applied for 36 hours in advance to the anticipated date(s); failure to comply could result the in violation of the company’s attendance policy leading to disciplinary action or written documentation in the employment file of that particular employee. Another useful example is when a Sick Leave is only recognized after the staff successfully obtains a Medical Certificate within five working hours after calling in sick. A company can also establish that Emergency Leaves can only be taken for cases involving immediate family members or a list of things.
To further effectively handle absenteeism, a mixture of preventive and handling measures need to be in place. For example; Company A offers an annual medical claim amounting to USD $1000 claimable only when a staff takes Medical Leaves. The balance will be transferred to individual’s staff account at the beginning of the year. Hence, for those who have been using up their medical leaves and claims throughout the year will have nothing left in their account in January. Another example is Company B that rewards USD $1000 for perfect attendance for its employees.By having a system like TimeTec, it provides full transparency and allows staff to monitor their own attendance, providing them with control of their own risks and rewards and the ability to adjust their behaviors/patterns accordingly to benefit themselves and to reduce the risk upon their jobs. Not only that the employer will have better access to have had accurate data that helps the company to better managed their human resources. For a topic as trifling as absences, a lot could be done to yield positive results to the company if it’s handled by the right system, all the time.