New research shows flexible working reduces absenteeism.
Expert Market, a B2B comparison website, has conducted a study highlighting the most important ways to reduce workplace absenteeism and support employees.
Statistics show the following:
- There is a 51% likelihood that employees will avoid going to work if they feel disconnected from their work or unstimulated by it
- Each year, burnout and stress in the workplace cost US businesses about $500 billion, and 550 million workdays are lost as a result
- There is an estimated $500 billion cost to employers each year due to employee disengagement in the US
During December 2022 and January 2023, Expert Market interviewed 50 North American and European businesses about their employee absence policies. Long COVID (56%) and mental health/workplace stress (66%) are the main reasons. There were also reasons for other sicknesses (28%), as well as family care (26%).
A question about absenteeism prevention initiatives was also asked of the companies. According to the findings, 48% of companies have a remote or flexible working policy. A wellness program was part of 34% of companies’ new initiatives to reduce employee absenteeism.
A healthier work-life balance and hybrid work trends are helping to reduce absenteeism among physically and mentally unwell patients. Workplace happiness and productivity have also been shown to be enhanced by them.
According to the Expert Market Workplace Study of 125 companies from August 2022, 92% saw benefits of flexible working options, 66% stating greater productivity and 60% stating improved work-life balance.
A great number of employees have lost connection to their work as evidenced by recent workplace trends like Quiet Quitting and the Great Resignation. The result is an increase in workplace absences and a substantial drop in productivity. A large part of these new phenomena can be attributed to the changing workplace and the desire for more flexibility.
Hiring and retaining employees could also be positively affected. Employees are now actively seeking roles that offer mental health support and monetary bonuses as well as other wellbeing benefits.
According to Duncan Lambden, Senior Business Solutions Expert at Expert Market:
“COVID-19 had a massive impact on all facets of life, but work life was possibly hit hardest. After seeing what life was like with a more equal work-life balance, people were very reluctant to revert back to the pre-COVID method. Companies need to give people a reason to stay engaged with their jobs, as people care more about happiness and balance than ever before. Of course, businesses benefit from this too, as an engaged worker is far more productive.”
In addition to reducing absences and supporting employees, the guide outlines the following steps:
- Understanding the problem:
Absences for any reason should be understood. It is impossible to provide support if you do not understand the issue.
- Return-to-work interviews:
There is evidence that return-to-work interviews reduce absenteeism. During these meetings, you may ask what happened and explain what you expect going forward.
- Wellness programs have many benefits:
There are several factors that can lead to absenteeism, including stress, burnout, bullying, and mental health issues. Employee wellness programs increase productivity in the workplace and take better care of employees.
- Training and development:
Employees are motivated by opportunities for personal growth and development. In an environment that encourages employee development, employees are more likely to stick around and upskill.
- Offer remote/flexible work environments:
Employees are more comfortable working while absent or recovering from illness when they are able to work from wherever they like. The stress and fatigue of commuting in and out of an office can also be reduced.