The Real Cost of Workplace Absenteeism and How To Prevent It

Health-related workplace absenteeism increases sharply each year during the inevitable flu season, which normally starts in November. 

This year, in the midst of a global pandemic, our concerns around maintaining a healthy workplace are amplified. Many businesses are airing on the side of precaution and asking anyone with cold/flu symptoms not to go into work. 

We believe in prioritizing our employees’ well-being first, and if an illness spreads throughout an entire workplace it can be costly.  That being said, workplace absenteeism can also pose significant costs to your overall business.

The Cost of Workplace Absenteeism

  • Employee Morale: Often absenteeism means you’re understaffed, thus other employees have to pick up the slack. This can result in high levels of stress, burnout and employee turnover.
  • Time: Instead of focusing on core business, management ends up wasting valuable time searching for temporary help, making alternative arrangements, and worrying about the competence of replacements. 
  • Customer Service: Delays and lowered service standards can result in poor customer service, which may damage your reputation and customer relationships. 
  • The Bottom Line: Canadian companies lose an estimated $16.6 billion in productivity per year due to workplace absenteeism.

Services to Prevent the Cost of Workplace Absenteeism

Similar to a book-off line, you can set up specialized, 24/7, absenteeism lines that employees can call at the first sign of the sniffles. When they call, they will be greeted by a virtual receptionist who can track symptoms, scheduled and unscheduled absences, and compile summary reports. This allows managers to know instantly when an employee is not coming in, allowing them to focus on more important business matters. 

If you do find yourself understaffed due to absenteeism, don’t just wing it. Instead of hiring alternative receptionists that require training on the fly — be proactive and set up temporary reception coverage. This ensures your customers are treated with the same level of care, business remains efficient, and employees don’t feel the strain of missing representatives.

In the event you’re worried about absenteeism with a remote team, you can remain up to date on their health and safety using work-alone check-ins. In particular, this allows supervisors to monitor and document any health and safety incidents that may impact future absenteeism.