COVID-19 has forever altered the concept of business as usual. Many businesses transitioned to a remote workforce at the onset of the pandemic. Now, some are reopening their offices, but employees expect to have continued flexibility. The pandemic isn’t over, and employees may still need flexible hours or the option to work remotely should COVID affect their household.
Employees’ mental health has also become a top priority for companies. Businesses are implementing several changes to reflect this trend, such as:
- Offering mental health days
- Adding mental health services to insurance plans
- Encouraging employees to stay home when they feel unwell
- Increasing PTO
Employee burnout is at an all-time high, and ignoring their mental health or work-life balance needs can lead to disengagement and rampant absenteeism. Consider implementing the following trends to sustain attendance and productivity:
- Remove the stigma of using PTO. Many employees feel like they can’t use their PTO without repercussions unless they give ample notice, such as taking time off for vacations. However, employees can’t predict mental health challenges or burnout. Fostering a culture that encourages employees to use PTO when they need it can help employees rest when they need to and return to work refreshed.
- Focus on employee retention. Many companies expend considerable energy on continually improving the customer experience, and employees deserve that same courtesy. Companies that consistently recognize their employees’ value and efforts experience greater employee loyalty and less absenteeism.
- Trust employees. Employees resent micromanagement, particularly while dealing with the stressors introduced by the pandemic. Provide clear productivity expectations and deadlines, but trust employees to manage their schedules. Companies can ensure projects stay on track by monitoring employees’ work output rather than scrutinizing or dissecting their work hours.
- Invest in absence management software. Absence management software helps businesses identify attendance trends and unusual absences. Employers can use this information to implement data-driven changes to improve attendance and employee engagement.
Actec understands the attendance challenges businesses are facing as the pandemic continues to affect business operations. Our self-service absence-tracking mobile app captures all attendance data without the need to contact multiple departments or managers. Employees can also use the app to submit leave requests, either by phone, text, chat, or within the app itself. Contact us to discuss your absence reporting and tracking needs.
With cold and flu season well underway, many employers are keeping a wary eye out for the telltale sniffles and sneezing that precede an office-wide breakout of illnesses. While workplaces can take several steps to reduce the likelihood of spreading germs, germs linger in several sneaky places. Without addressing these areas, employees can begin to fall ill and not understand why. The following are some of the biggest sources of germs that hide in plain sight:
- Kitchen faucets. Everyone knows that office bathrooms are breeding grounds for disease as multiple people touch the door handles, faucet knobs, and towel dispensers. As a result, employees take more precautions in this high-traffic area. However, they rarely give the same attention to kitchen faucets. If the office has a breakroom or a kitchen area with a sink, it can be a breeding ground for germs.
- Cellphones. People use their phones more than ever and it’s become a Petri dish employees carry with them everywhere they go. Hands and mouths are the most common human sources of germs and both interact with phones on a regular basis. If employees pass around phones to share ideas or socialize during lunch, they could be spreading illness without realizing it.
- Gym equipment. Many workplaces offer access to onsite gyms or gym memberships to their employees as part of a wellness program. While exercise improves the immune system, gyms house a lot of germs that aren’t often correctly dealt with in a timely manner. While gym-goers should wipe down equipment before and after use as a standard of etiquette, a wet towel isn’t enough to disinfect it.
- Money. Employees go out for lunch or have meetings with clients over coffee all the time. During these interactions, they’re going to exchange cash, coins, or cards with the wait staff. Even if the restaurant requires employees to wash hands, there is no accounting for where money has been or whose hands it passed through.
Identifying the hidden sources of germs allows employees to take steps to prevent falling ill or spreading disease throughout the workplace. Frequent hand washing, keeping hand sanitizer close by, and avoiding touching the mouth, nose, or face can all help reduce an office-wide flu pandemic. If your workplace is struggling with illness and frequent absences, the experts at Actec can help. Contact us to learn about how our absence management system can reduce absenteeism and improve other elements of employee attendance.
With the start of the fall season, many workforces are likely readying for the impending illnesses. Once one employee falls ill, it can feel like a domino effect for the remaining staff following suit as well. However, while illnesses are legitimate reasons for an unscheduled absence, employers need to make sure there aren’t other factors at play affecting employee attendance.
Underlying Causes of Absenteeism
The following are some of the most common root causes of absenteeism.
Adults are no less impervious to bullying than children in school. Not only that, but they’re just as likely to utilize the same solution—duck out to avoid the bully. Absenteeism can be a symptom of a much larger problem than intermittent attendance. Employers should encourage employees so they feel comfortable reporting harassment. In addition, keeping an open-door policy can help as shutting management away in an office can keep problems hidden until they boil over as unscheduled absences.
Poor Morale in the Workplace
No employee will want to come into work if the atmosphere is tense, combative, or dismissive. Employees that feel disrespected or like their employer doesn’t allow them to make decisions will rapidly decrease in productivity. Their drive and desire to come to work on time (if at all) will tank as well. Employers need to establish healthy work environments and create a company culture that allows employees to thrive. Recognizing performance, hosting workplace fun days or events, and so on can help boost morale.
Employees have obligations at home that can make their work schedule seem insurmountable. Whether they are caring for an aging relative, an injured family member, or trying to get their children to school on time, employees can feel the strain of a traditional nine to five schedule. Offering flexible scheduling so employees can set their hours to better align with their lives can eliminate the need to call out to take care of responsibilities on the home front.
While absenteeism usually means an unscheduled absence, it also encompasses employees arriving late, leaving early, or taking excessively long breaks. This time adds up and can affect other employees as well. Having a robust absence management system in place can give HR the tools they need to track these scheduling infractions to identify trends and rectify the problem swiftly.
If your workplace is struggling with absenteeism or other attendance problems, the experts at Actec can help. Contact us to learn how our absence reporting program can help your business.
Many individuals suffer from seasonal allergies; however, for some, it’s a debilitating issue that can be hard to manage. With up to 30% of Americans suffering from allergies, it’s one of the top three reasons employees call out of work. It’s worth the time involved for employers to try and reduce allergens in the office as it improves productivity and employee well-being as well as reduces absences due to allergies.
The following are several steps employers can take to help the allergy sufferers in the building:
- Smart workspace arrangement. Many individuals suffer from pet allergies, with dogs and cats being the most common. When deciding where to place various workstations, keep these individuals in mind and avoid seating them next to a pet owner.
- Stay on top of filtration needs. Pollen infiltrates a building through obvious sources such as opening and closing exterior doors and windows. However, a robust air filtration system can help combat this. Changing air filters often can also help address this issue.
- Manage dust mites. Dust mites are among the most common allergens found in houses. Unfortunately, it’s very easy for employees to carry them from their home to the office without realizing it. Dust mite eggs can nest in carpets, upholstered furniture, and even cubical walls if they’re covered in any type of fabric. Frequent vacuuming and carpet cleaning can help reduce the number of dust mites that linger in the workplace. Dusting workspaces and wiping them down can also help.
- Avoid plug-in scents and aerosols. While these are common bathroom items, they also emit fumes that can cause serious issues for allergy sufferers. Companies should steer clear of cleaning products that eject volatile organic compounds into the air and use less abrasive alternatives instead.
- Find the best allergy medicine. While antihistamines are effective at reducing allergy-induced itchy, watery eyes and runny noses, they can also make employees drowsy. Tiredness is just as likely to affect productivity as allergy symptoms are, so it’s best to combat allergies with non-sedative antihistamines.
The constant sneezing, running noses, and other common issues related to allergies can render employees incapable of working if the symptoms become severe. Taking steps to reduce common allergens can help employees better manage their allergy symptoms, improve their productivity, and reduce allergy-related absences. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about reducing absenteeism.
Employee absenteeism comes with a hefty cost. Employers lose money on the employees who aren’t working, the employees who have to stay late to pick up the slack, and on costs related to HR managing unplanned absences. However, while it’s easy to assume absenteeism stems from laziness, this is not typically the case. There are several underlying reasons that can contribute to attendance issues.
- Illnesses and injuries. This type of absence is unavoidable. If an employee is contagious or suffering from a debilitating injury, they can’t and shouldn’t come to work until they are fully recovered. Otherwise, they run the risk of infecting other office members or relapsing. Having a solid absence reporting system in place can help mitigate the effects of these types of absences as HR and employers can be aware of the issue as soon as possible and develop a plan to deal with it.
- Low morale. If conflict is a constant norm in the office, employees aren’t going to want to show up for work. Existing in an environment fraught with tension is less than ideal and ultimately results in attendance problems and low productivity. High-stress work environments can also cause low morale and disengagement. Management can mitigate some of this by offering positive feedback and rewarding exceptional work.
- Burnout. Some employees work themselves non-stop in their zeal to commit to their work. However, coming in early and staying late without a break will eventually result in burnout. Sometimes, employees do it to themselves because of their personalities. Other times, employees overwork themselves because they believe it’s what their managers expect. Setting realistic expectations for working hours can help prevent this issue.
- Not enough flexibility. A traditional nine to five schedule doesn’t work for everyone. Employees who attend college or have to get children to and from school may need to shift their work hours to the left or the right to ensure the best work-life balance. When employers force rigid schedules, it can breed resentment and result in attendance problems such as ducking out early.
- Time theft. Continuing with the above, not all forms of attendance issues manifest as missing an entire day’s worth of work. Tardiness to work or meetings, leaving early, or taking long breaks all add up to lost productivity.
Implementing an absence reporting solution can help give HR employees the tools to identify, track, and manage attendance issues. If your company is struggling with absenteeism or attendance problems, Actec can help. Contact us to learn more about managing absenteeism.
Employee wellness programs have taken the workplace by storm. Seventy-nine percent of large businesses and 44 percent of mid-sized businesses offer wellness programs. However, no employer can label his or her wellness program a success without measuring its value. While it is great to implement wellness programs, employers need to ensure they are effective to reap any benefits. However, over 60 percent of those that offer such programs fail to track the return on investment (ROI).
While few large-scale studies on the value of employee wellness program exist, some small ones do. A study by the Harvard Business Review found businesses with wellness programs saw a one to two percent increase in healthcare costs compared to the national average of seven percent. Ensuring the success of employee wellness programs is possible if businesses take the following approach.
Viable Wellness Programs Are Top Down
A wellness program will fail to thrive if management at the executive level does not engage. If CEOs host and participate in quarterly health screenings, it will show their employees that they are committed to improving the health of the organization as a whole. Other examples of nurturing long-term health are offering healthy meals at meetings and stocking the vending machines with nutritious snacks. If employers want to improve their employees’ health, it must be a long-term commitment. Holding one health fair per year while continuing to stock the break room with donuts sends a mixed message and will yield poor results.
If it is hard to engage or easy to miss the notice, employees will overlook wellness programs. An employer cannot send one reminder email or post one announcement and expect employees to take notice. Employees receive dozens of emails daily and are busier than ever. Employers can utilize several methods of communication (emails, text messages, etc.), but an online portal is the most likely method to succeed. Providing a single location for updates and screening results makes engagement easy for employees.
Seek Professional Support
Wellness Programs often fall under the purview of HR departments, but most HR employees are not equipped to manage the programs. Wellness programs can be complicated and time-consuming so it is best to invest in providers and vendors who are familiar with health screenings, health coaching, and so on. Wellness experts can schedule events, help employees with enrollment, manage communication efforts, and more.
Wellness programs are growing in popularity for obvious reasons: they increase employee engagement, improve morale, address budding employee health issues before they become a significant problem, and reduce absenteeism. Improving employee health has a direct correlation to improving their attendance. This in turn improves a company’s productivity and bottom line. To learn more about how employee wellness programs affect absence management, contact the experts at Actec.
Employee absences disrupt workflow and can have a negative effect on morale. While chronic absences may have an underlying and preventable cause, some absences are unavoidable. To help reduce the number of absences in the workplace due to illness, employers can implement health and wellness programs. Focusing on keeping employees healthy can help reduce their susceptibility to getting sick. However, setting up a wellness program is not enough. Employers need to measure the success of such programs with reliable metrics.
Implementing a Wellness Program
To measure the program’s success, business owners need to track specific metrics. Most health and wellness programs aim to reduce absenteeism and the accompanying costs. To improve attendance based on metrics, business owners can break absences down by:
This will allow managers to notice trends and make adjustments where necessary. For example. If team leaders fall ill every year during the busiest season, business owners can dig into metrics to see if those employees are overworked and therefore more likely to fall ill. If the cause of the absenteeism is due to cold and flu season, employers can focus on preventative care instead. Having reliable absence reporting data is vital to reducing absenteeism via a health and wellness program.
Health and wellness programs provide additional benefits for employers as well. Companies that invest in their employees’ well-being often see a more loyal and engaged workforce. This affects overall morale and can improve productivity. However, implementing a successful health and wellness program can be overwhelming. To find ways to improve your employee absenteeism challenges, contact the experts at Actec.
If you want your employees to be more productive and reduce absences, you need to encourage them to eat healthy. Studies show that people who maintain a healthy diet are more creative, remember more and can think better than unhealthy employees.
Healthy Diet and Job Performance
Studies show that employees on a healthy diet:
- Are 27% less absent
- 11% better at work than unhealthy employees
- 20% more likely to be productive
- 25% improved job performance
Brains and Calorie Consumption
A person’s brain uses 20% of the calories they consume in a day. For optimum performance, the brain needs a continuous stream of healthy fats and glucose. When people eat things such as:
- Whole grains
- Healthy fats
They keep their brains going and stay fuller longer.
What Employees Should Eat
What are some good foods that your employees should eat to make them more productive?
- Brown rice
- Dark chocolate
Educating your employees about a healthy diet will reduce absenteeism, make your employees more productive and make your company a better place to work.
To learn more absence management strategies, contact the experts at Actec.