How to Manage Employee Attendance During COVID-19

Posted on

February 16th, 2021


The pandemic created numerous complications regarding employee attendance. Many companies shifted to a 100% remote workforce at the outset of the pandemic. Some of these companies are back in the office full time, while others are using a hybrid approach. Regardless, the pandemic upended traditional scheduling and made tracking employee attendance more challenging.

Employers can implement the following to improve attendance during COVID-19:

  1. Highlight the importance of employees’ roles. If employees don’t see how their job plays a part in the bigger picture, they won’t see how missing a day of work now and then is a problem. When every employee adopts that line of thinking, a company quickly develops an absenteeism issue. This becomes a greater challenge when employees work from home. Employers should explain that every employee’s attendance is critical to achieving company goals, providing superior service, and not overburdening coworkers with extra work.
  2. Define clear notice requirements. Attendance policies should be clear on how much notice an employee needs to provide for an absence. Otherwise, employees are likely to wait until the last minute to discuss it. While some absences are truly last-minute, such as a sudden illness, employees should give ample notice for known future appointments.
  3. Create a policy for reporting unforeseen absences. Without a clear policy, employees may think they can miss work without an explanation until the following day. This creates confusion and hinders productivity. Employers should explain how and when employees need to report unexpected absences (i.e., by phone, email, or text as soon as the employee can reasonably do so). Employees working from home may not understand how waiting until the next day to explain their absence matter since they aren’t in an office environment.
  4. Clarify paid leave policies. Employers need to explain that employees can’t treat their paid leave as automatic approval for taking time off work. Employees need to understand how absence reporting and notification policies interact with paid leave policies to avoid labor gaps and productivity problems. This is particularly important in a remote environment as employees working from home may not realize they need approval before leaving in the middle of work hours.

Ambiguous attendance policies create a breeding ground for absenteeism. Providing clear guidelines helps ensure employees follow protocols when requesting leave or notifying employers of their absence. To learn more about managing attendance, contact the experts at Actec.