The pandemic has changed the working environment beyond recognition and that includes the prevalence of employee absenteeism. In a time where greater flexibility is expected by employees, being able to control when and how people are working is becoming increasingly difficult and putting HR teams and small businesses under huge pressures.
Insight Investigations have seen an increase in employers who, whilst wanting to remain focused on the needs of their staff during this period of time after working from home is not as necessary, who also need to ensure from an economical viewpoint that staff members are not taking advantage.
In a pre-pandemic world employee absenteeism was confined to team members taking unnecessary sick days, but now the issue has become much bigger. Now the breadth of absenteeism and the ease in which employees can take time away from their desks and their attention off the job at hand is increasing with work from home (WFH), flexi and hybrid work programmes.
At Insight Investigations we have helped businesses identify absenteeism within the workforce for many years and have seen a 43% increase in cases since the pandemic. For those employers who are adopting WFH, flexi or hybrid working policies, they are dealing with remotely managing teams and are completely in the dark as to when staff are at their desk, tuned in and working and when they’re otherwise engaged in personal matters at home.
But it’s not just at home working that is causing issues for employers, COVID19 has created a wealth of excuses for employees to not come to work or take a few hours out of the day. Team members can often cite COVID19 related reasons for missing work which given the severity of the implications if employers do not take notice of this, are too hard and irresponsible to ignore, even if they do give rise to suspicion.
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Reasons for not coming to work or needing to work from home can include, but are not limited to:
- Testing positive for COVID-19 and must self-isolate at home
- Awaiting test results and having to self-isolate whilst waiting for test results
- Self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19
- Needing to stay home due to reduced options for childcare, school or nursery closures
- COVID-19 health anxiety where people are too scared to travel on public transport to work and be in confined spaces with colleagues in the office.
When it comes to employee absenteeism, there are several tactics which can be adopted by you the business owner or manager to try and nip absenteeism in the bud before it gets to the level where a private investigator would need to be engaged with, this includes:
One of the biggest ways to tackle employee absenteeism is to keep employees motivated. This could be through a number of HR initiatives from simply taking the time and effort to plan their career trajectory, regular reviews and pay rises, staff benefits and bonuses as well as social activities which make work a pleasurable part of life. We often find that businesses which don’t put their needs and wants of their team members first, often have the biggest employee absenteeism issues.
Clear WFH guidelines
In this new age of working, it’s important for businesses both big and small to set clear boundaries and processes when it comes to working from home. Employees often find that structured processes help them to manage change. It’s the responsibility of the employer to spend the time and resource planning guidelines and processes which work for the entire workforce. In terms of communicating those processes and guidelines to teams it can be helpful to clearly state what’s expected and provide an employee handbook (printed or digital) which employees can refer to. In addition it can be helpful to host briefings with employees to explain the processes and then regular check-ins on how things are going.
Flexible working programmes
In this day and age employers must move with the times and if they refuse to change with a new modern working world, that rigidity will cause them to lose employee loyalty and can lead to high levels of employee absenteeism. Flexible and hybrid working allows employees to have a better work life balance, many employees now actively look for this as part of their package and if you don’t provide that flexibility, another company will.
If you are still concerned that you are experiencing high and consistent levels of employee absenteeism, you can speak with one of our investigators about how to tackle this. Our experienced corporate team, who have helped assist in thousands of employee absenteeism cases, can help to identify the issues and tackle the issue head on.
Establish the best next steps and get to the facts of the matter by calling one of our specialist teams on the number below or use our contact form 24/7 for a free consultation.
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