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Dealing with Absence of Employees

Employee absence is a major cause of worry to the business world. Employee absence is an expensive affair, as, irrespective of the number of employees on leave, the work is to be submitted on time. A delay in the work submission can result in customer dissatisfaction leading to reduced business in the long run, thus adversely affecting the company profitability. Furthermore, replacing the absent worker by availing the services of another, takes a toll on the replacement. Increased pressure on the colleagues leads to their dissatisfaction which might end up in high attrition rates because of the long unnecessary working hours put in by the substitutes. Employee absence must therefore be analysed and steps to overcome them must be taken.

The first step is identifying the causes behind the increased absence. The economic boom in India brought with it long untimely working hours that is necessary to meet the customer guidelines. Many customers take advantage by conducting conferences at odd hours not considering the time differences, thus indirectly playing havoc to the employee health. Intense competition from cost effective countries like China and Brazil forces the business entities to compel their employees for better performance. Intense work, company and customer deadlines, followed by long working hours take toll on the health of the employees. Physical and mental stress forces her to demand leave to escape stress.

Another cause of absenteeism is the hours spent on traveling from one place to another. Besides the time taken to commute on a regular basis from home to office, another worry is visits made to customer locations for longer periods or at frequent intervals. Lesser time spent with the family and the physical stress leads them to dissatisfaction. A dissatisfied employee loses her confidence in the company leading to lower interest in work and longer absenteeism.

Many employees are provided with laptops. Though the working hours are legalized, the laptops force them to take work home, leading to employee frustration. Unhappy personal life, in many cases, result in unhealthy habits like high alcohol consumption, ending in abseenting from work.

Business entities, on identifying the key factors, must provide the platform to the employees to minimize or overcome them. The long working hours can be made good by effective people planning. Where business consists of a huge number of global clients, shifts must be brought into effect. Similarly, provisions for recreation, team as well as their family outings aid in minimizing the physical and mental stress to a great extent. To meet the physical ill health, the employees must be given medical insurance and other reimbursement policies. By providing office transport at frequent intervals, the employees’ physical and mental strain on driving in the heavy traffic is minimized. The provision to work from home can add as an incentive. However policies should concentrate in providing preventive measures to avoid or minimize overtime even while working from home. Inability to maintain work-life balance can be put into control through psychological counselors appointed in the organization.

Dr.S.Kalyanasundaram while working with PPC (Personal Performance Consultant) Worldwide said, “The underlying fact of long working hours and satisfying customers by meeting deadlines sitting miles away, is the basic challenge in the IT industry. Emotional stress in the long-term might result in employees becoming irritable and unable to concentrate on their work. This can even affect their productivity and similarly can impact the entire chain, right from an individual to a team and ultimately the company.” So great pains to avoid employee absenteeism must be taken within the organization for the well being of the company as well as its employees.

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