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Employee Absenteeism: Why It Happens and How to Handle It

Absenteeism in the workplace impacts the bottom line and the productivity of other workers, too. Your employees’ tasks are linked to each other. When one doesn’t finish their tasks on time, the rest of the team and company suffer. Absenteeism is defined as an employee being habitually and frequently absent from work outside of paid leaves and on special occasions such as their birthday.

Employee Absenteeism

Being absent from time to time because of grief, sickness, jury duty, and special occasions in the family is not strange. But when the employee is absent despite availing of the paid leaves, that should concern you. When it becomes excessive, absenteeism can create a problem at work. It would help if you addressed it.

Repetitive Illnesses

Absenteeism doesn’t mean that your employees are slacking off at work. It might also mean that they are dealing with something serious about their health. Your office might be triggering their allergies. Are you noticing a trend among your employees? You have to consider that your office or store might be the culprit why, for example, your employees’ allergies are flaring up.

When was the last time you had your air ducts inspected? An HVAC contractor should give you a routine maintenance schedule and checklist to have your heating and cooling systems cleaned. If you cannot remember the last time you thoroughly maintained this system, you might aggravate your employees’ allergies.

Bullying and Harassment

Employees who are being bullied and harassed at work would rather stay home to avoid unpleasant encounters. Most employers would be shocked to find out what happens in the office among their employees. Make sure that you are aware of these situations because they can lead to a decline in mental health and because workplace bullying is a legal matter. Nip this in the bud and let your employees know that you will not tolerate bullying.

Stress and Burnout

Are you overworking your employees? Of course, you are not the sole reason employees get stressed and burned out at work. The reason can be personal, too, but it helps to ask yourself how you’re treating your employees. If you are making them work until way past dinnertime, you contribute to their misery. Call the attention of the employees who you feel are getting exhausted from work. It’s okay to give them some time off because they will come back and be more productive at work.


It pays to know about your employees’ personal lives. For example, if your employee is a caregiver to an older family member, then there will be times that they have to be absent from work because their care arrangements fell through. It’s the same thing when your employees have a baby in the family. They have to prioritize their kids’ welfare, so they may not be as focused on going to work physically. However, that is no reason to fire them. If they are still productive and meet their deadlines, then you can let them work remotely for now.

Mental Health Problems

Don’t think you cannot do anything for employees who suffer from mental health problems. Unless they turn violent in the workplace, they should continue working there. You can make sure the office environment is conducive to productivity, camaraderie, and openness. Employees should feel that it’s okay to talk about one’s mental health problems with their co-workers.

Low Morale

Employees may also be unmotivated to go to work. If they feel undervalued and unappreciated, they will not feel the urge or motivation to work and prove themselves. Experts have always emphasized the need for employers to boost their employees’ morale. Many of them think that their work is unimportant, so they don’t even make an effort to do it well anymore. Call their attention. If you find out that low morale is the problem, show them what good things they’ve done in the past and how your company wouldn’t have survived without them in it.

There is a reason why employees are suddenly absent at work, especially those who were previously responsible enough to come on time. Unless the problem is they’re partying too much and simply being irresponsible, employers can find a way to fix these issues. Remember that companies are more practical to retain their existing employees rather than recruit new ones. You can save thousands of dollars just by addressing these problems early on.

Jeremy D. Mena
Alcohol geek. Future teen idol. Web practitioner. Problem solver. Certified bacon guru. Spent 2002-2009 researching plush toys in Miami, FL. Won several awards for exporting tar in Libya. Uniquely-equipped for managing human growth hormone in Libya. Spent a weekend implementing fried chicken on the black market. Spoke at an international conference about working on carnival rides in Miami, FL. Developed several new methods for donating jack-in-the-boxes in Edison, NJ.