Long-term absenteeism is a high cost for many employers. It leads to lower productivity, higher workload for other employees and lower morale in the organization. Working efficiently due to increasing technological developments brings pressure and employees experience more stress. It is important for employers to regain control of absenteeism and to get and keep employees engaged and motivated.

Understanding the root causes

You need to understand the root causes of long-term absenteeism in order to take control of absenteeism. How do you create a positive work environment that promotes work-life balance, open communication and employee development? As an employer, you must be proactive in identifying and addressing issues related to absenteeism to prevent it from becoming a long-term problem.

There are multiple reasons that lead employees to take long-term sick leave. Consider physical illness or injury, which is one of the most common reasons. But personal problems such as financial difficulties, problems in the family or mental health (about 8% of long-term absence) can also play a role in this. In addition, work stress or even burnout, excessive workload, and a lack of commitment and motivation can cause employees to call in sick for long periods of time. To regain control of absenteeism, you need to recognize these signals early and tackle them at the root.

Control absenteeism with 5 tips

Where do you start? The 5 tips below will help you recognize the signs, address them and reduce absenteeism. This is how you regain control of absenteeism!

Tip 1: Have clear policies in place

Clear rules are the basis for clear communication. A good absence policy ensures that employees know what is expected of them and what they can expect from the organization if they are absent for a prolonged period. Therefore, put down on paper clearly what steps are taken in case of illness or absence and which parties are involved. That way, employees know where to go, what contact points there are and with whom, and what the process looks like. This is like your plan of action for absenteeism.

Tip 2: A positive work atmosphere

Creating a positive atmosphere in the workplace is essential to prevent long-term absenteeism. Employers must ensure that the workplace is safe and comfortable and that there is a respectful culture where trust is paramount. Therefore, make sure you reward positive behavior and lead by example. Also, show that you value employees and that as a team leader or HR manager, you are there for them if anything is wrong.

Tip 3: Promote a good work-life balance

Want to prevent long-term absenteeism? Then make sure your employees have enough time and space in addition to their work to pursue their hobbies, maintain their social lives and spend time with their families. A good work-life balance is one of the best ways to prevent burnout and absenteeism. Long working hours, a high workload and little support increasingly cause us to give up our private lives in order to achieve good results at work – which can have high consequences.

Therefore, make arrangements with your employees if you notice that they find this difficult. For example, set a fixed end time each day and make sure they have their work phone turned off in the evening. Does the work not get finished if they stick to this? Then it is good to look at the workload and how you can reduce it. The employee probably has too much on their plate, making a structural solution necessary. In this way you make more room for a good work-life balance.

Tip 4: Measure and see

The best way to spot long-term absenteeism early is to make it measurable. Do you know how your employees are feeling and talk about this regularly? 2DAYSMOOD offers employers, team leaders and HR managers a quick and simple way to measure employees’ mood, engagement and workload over a longer period of time in a short-cycle fashion.

Every week, employees receive a 15-second survey that allows team leaders to see how the team is doing. As a team leader or HR manager, do you notice frequent reports of high workload, high work stress or frustrated employees? If so, that could be a warning sign of long-term absenteeism to come. Make sure you have a conversation with your team to identify where the bottlenecks are and how to resolve them. Also cool: with our tool you can immediately see how much cost you save in absenteeism that you prevent!

Tip 5: Training and development opportunities

Employees who invest in their careers and see opportunities for growth will be more engaged in their work. And engagement, in turn, makes work stress and burnout less likely to get employees down. Therefore, encourage professional development by offering training and advancement opportunities. Employees who feel fulfilled in their work are less likely to call in sick.

Take control and reduce absenteeism!

Do you see a lot of long-term absenteeism in your organization? Then get started with the tips above. Regaining control of absenteeism is not easy. But it makes for happier employees, lower costs and a better performing company. Are you running into bottlenecks? Then ask our employee happiness experts for advice!

Control absenteeism with 2DAYSMOOD’s tool: useful data for prevention and quick approach to absenteeism. See how it works here!