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May 20, 2013

The Lazy Hazy Days of Summer are Approaching

Filed under: General HR Buzz3:38 pm

After our long winter, everyone is most likely ready for some nice, warm weather.  Accompanying the warm weather may be “work-dread” days where employees would rather be spending time outside than in the office, precipitating a higher volume of sick call-ins.  What are some reasons (besides nice weather) that may generate increased absences, which in turn cost your company money?

  • Legitimate Illnesses.  This is real life, so we know some employees will become ill.  Many companies have instituted wellness programs to educate and encourage their workforce to make healthier choices, whether through formal or informal programs within their organization.  A recent survey conducted by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index indicated absences as a result of employees with chronic health conditions accounts for a yearly bill of $84 billion in lost productivity.  That may provide enough motivation to take a look at offering some type of wellness initiative.
  • Low Morale.   Let’s face it.  Some employees just don’t want to be at work…for a variety of reasons.   You may gain some insight by opening dialogue with employees on a regular basis to find out what they like or don’t like about their job or the company.  Provide options for employees to voice their concerns, perhaps through a suggestion box or small group meetings with supervisors and management.  The important thing to remember is to listen and respond.  If you solicit feedback, you don’t necessarily need to implement every idea but you should find some opinions that warrant further consideration.
  • Work Environment.  Perhaps the cause for the sick day call-in is to avoid dealing with another coworker, attendance at a school function for a child, or a problem supervisor.  If either of these are the case, some changes in work environment may be the solution.  Personnel issues, whether between coworkers or supervision, need to be addressed timely and appropriately.  Oftentimes providing flexibility in work schedules can solve other issues regarding scheduling time off for family events.

Whatever the reasons are, absences are expensive for employers.  Hopefully the above items will generate some ideas to reduce absenteeism and still provide opportunities for employees to enjoy the warm summer days.

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