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What Are the Effects of Absenteeism in the Workplace?

Posted by EHS Insight Resources on February 23, 2021 at 7:22 AM

Back in grade school, some teachers used to make a big deal about the students with perfect attendance. They did so because they believed those students were better prepared and had a greater commitment than students who missed a few days due to illness. Well, years later, the song remains the same. Employers prefer to have workers who show up every day and limit their absences as much as possible. This is because companies know that missing workers impacts the workplace and their bottom line. Let’s explore this topic deeper by taking a closer look at the effects of absenteeism in the workplace.

Picking Up the Slack

When employees call in sick or miss work for other reasons, it slows down production. If a particular worker has a big project to complete and a tight deadline, one or two missed days can have a significant impact on whether they’re able to meet that deadline. Often, the burden of making up for that person’s absence falls on his or her co-workers. In turn, those co-workers don’t always get their usual amount of work done while covering for someone else. Either way that you slice it, the amount of work that gets done is reduced, which is one of the biggest effects of absenteeism in the workplace.

We should also mention the amount of time that supervisors spend figuring out how to cover for an absent employee. They either need to shift the responsibilities of other workers or keep a close eye on a replacement worker who may not be as well-trained at a specific task as the employee who’s absent. Either way, this takes away time and resources. Instead of looking for ways to be more efficient, managers and supervisors have to spend time just trying to avoid falling behind.

Poor Morale

Company morale is one of the more overlooked effects of absenteeism in the workplace. Both frontline workers and supervisors can grow frustrated when they have to cover the duties of someone else. Granted, if it’s an isolated incident, it won’t be a big deal. Most workers will be happy to cover for their fellow employees, knowing the same will be done for them if they need to take a sick day.

However, if it’s a frequent occurrence, employees can become stressed, causing morale to drop. Low morale means employees will be less motivated to work hard and maximize their productivity. Plus, if morale is low and workers are growing more tired and stressed, they’ll be more likely to take a sick day, which perpetuates the negative effects of absenteeism in the workplace.

Safety Concerns

Believe it or not, workplace safety is among the effects of absenteeism in the workplace. As mentioned, co-workers or temporary workers having to pick up the slack for an absent worker creates a less safe workplace because those workers aren’t as well-trained for those specific duties. They may not be able to detect potential issues with machines or sense safety problems the same as the absent worker who works with that machine every day. 

Meanwhile, the workers who are trying to make up for the absent employee could become overworked. Perhaps they’re working extra hours that day or are stretched too thin. If they lose some of their focus or are trying to rush through something without following all safety protocols, accidents are more likely to happen. It’s not a stretch to say that the safest workplace is one that’s at full staff and has everyone taking care of the task that they are best trained to handle.

How to Keep Everyone Safe and At Work

One of the best ways to maintain a safe workplace and reduce the negative effects of absenteeism in the workplace is to have a safety monitoring system in place. EHS Insight offers software that serves as a great resource tool for every aspect of company safety. It will help track hazards, keeping employees up to date on training, and open lines of communication between workers and their supervisors. 

If this sounds like a good fit for your company, let’s have a conversation about all of the ways our software can help.

Topics: Workplace Health and Safety, Safety Culture, Human Resources

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