The pandemic has had an undeniable effect on absences and how companies manage them. More people called out of work in 2020 than they ever have in the past twenty years. Most of these absences have direct ties to COVID-19. Illness- and other medical-related absences rose by 45%, while absences related to childcare difficulties skyrocketed by 250%. Experts also speculate that extreme stress has led to higher-than-normal rates of burnout, which also lead to absences.
The shifting attendance landscape forced many businesses to reconsider their absence management strategies. Here are the most notable absences management trends of 2021:
- A rise in telehealth. The concept of virtual doctor appointments isn’t new, but the pandemic accelerated its acceptance as the norm. Virtual appointments allow employees to receive care and prescriptions for some ailments without exposing themselves to contagion-filled waiting rooms. Telehealth also provides greater access to much-needed mental health services.
- Mental health challenges. Although employees have greater access to virtual mental health services, there is still a stigma around receiving them. However, the mental stress of the pandemic is sending a surge of anxiety and depression through employees. Employers need to spread awareness and reduce the negative association with mental health services to help prevent a widespread mental health crisis in the workplace.
- Accommodation requests. Barring undue hardship, employers must provide reasonable accommodations to federally protected groups. However, prior to the pandemic, this usually applied to the location the employee worked (i.e., in the office). With so many employees still working from home, employers need to consider what employees need to do their job rather than where the work occurs.
- Transitional difficulties. Many companies are transitioning some of their employees back to the workplace due to the COVID-19 vaccine. However, this shift won’t be easy for many employees. They may have musculoskeletal problems from prolonged use of non-ergonomic furniture (i.e., working at the kitchen table or from the couch). Employees may also struggle with a traditional eight-hour shift, as remote work allows them greater flexibility with their work hours.
The pandemic radically transformed business as usual for most organizations. Companies need to understand how these changes contribute to employees’ ongoing mental health and wellbeing. Failing to keep up with these trends will result in burnout and significant absenteeism. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about absence management in the wake of COVID-19.
Accurate timekeeping is a challenging but necessary task for businesses. Companies need to know when employees are absent to identify trends as well as remain compliant with federal leave laws. Without a centralized system, many employers have no idea if all of their employees came to work or not. Having an attendance system also allows businesses to process payroll in a timely manner, adhere to labor laws, calculate savings, and more.
COVID-19 has added a new layer of complexity to tracking absences as many businesses still have a fully or partially remote workforce. Having a mobile attendance system can help eliminate confusion and deliver a number of benefits. Some of the leading advantages of remote absence management technology include:
- Accurate and complete attendance hours. Without a mobile attendance system, employees have to call in anytime they need to take time off work. This often routes through their manager who then informs HR or via some other convoluted system. By having a streamlined absence tracking mobile app, employees can submit leave requests from their phones.
- Proof of regulatory compliance. Having an automated mobile solution for absence tracking allows businesses to show they comply with the numerous regulations that govern working hours and leave requests.
- Provides value to employees. Many businesses choose absence management systems that reduce costs or improve their bottom line. However, they should also keep their employees in mind when implementing new technology. Absence tracking mobile apps are self-service systems that remove the need for employees to contact HR or management about submitting leave requests. Many of these apps provide useful information to employees as well such as their accrued sick leave or remaining paid time off (PTO).
- Offers multiple channels to submit leave requests. The best absence tracking mobile apps offer multiple options for employees to submit leave requests to match their comfort level. Actec’s mobile app offers telephonic, text, chat, and mobile channels for submitting absence information.
- Identify absence trends. Without accurate absence tracking, businesses don’t have a clear picture of employee attendance. A mobile app provides clear data on absences and highlights trends such as absenteeism or frequent tardiness. The data can also show whether there is an absenteeism problem with an individual employee or a particular department. Knowing that information allows company leadership to choose the best approach to the problem.
COVID-19 forced many businesses to transition to a remote workforce. With little time to prepare, tracking absences and leave requests is more challenging than ever. Actec’s absence tracking mobile app is a simple, self-service tool that delivers absence notifications to a centralized location. Contact us to learn how we can help your business’ absence reporting needs.