Tips for dealing with staff absenteeism in a small team


One of the biggest problems facing businesses is staff absenteeism. Absences at work can negatively affect production, while putting increased pressure on the remaining workers, which in turn reduces productivity further.

The effect of staff absenteeism can be even more serious with small businesses where the absence of even one worker can have a huge impact on the rest of the team, and the resulting deterioration in production can put the whole operation in jeopardy. Therefore, it is in these businesses’ own interests that owners and entrepreneurs take stock of the situation and try to reduce workplace absenteeism.

There are various aspects to consider when looking at the causes of absenteeism. These include:


Sadly, bullying in the workplace is not uncommon, and this can lead to victims taking time off work to avoid harassment by fellow workers.


Heavy workloads put workers under increased stress and leads to them taking days off work. Employers should understand that stress outside of work will also have an impact, as it can cause staff absenteeism.

Illness and injuries

Illness and injuries are common reasons why people take days of work, even though the condition may not necessarily be work related.


Society in recent years has come to realise that depression is far more common than recently thought. Unfortunately, people suffering depression often turn to drugs and/or alcohol abuse, which in turn leads to even more days taken off work.

There are two ways for small business owners and entrepreneurs to deal with the problem of staff absences. One is to look at the workforce as a whole and try and create conditions where employees are much less likely to take days off. This could include a strict no-bullying policy with instant dismissal being the price paid by those who harass co-workers. The advantage of enforcing no bullying among a small team is that it would be much easier to police.

Employers can relieve staff of workplace stress by changing work practices, while regular in-house medical check-ups can reduce absences from illnesses and injuries.

A second way to lower absenteeism rate is to deal with workers on an individual basis. For instance, if a worker is taking time off work because of stress caused by issues at home, a discussion with him or her may well find a resolution.

It is also better to nip causes of workplace absenteeism in the bud where possible. An example of this is people missing workdays because of drug or alcohol abuse. These potential causes of absenteeism can be detected by a simple procedure known as oral fluid testing.

The process, which can be performed in private, involves swabbing the inside of the employee’s mouth. This test can gauge whether drugs or alcohol have been used during the previous 48 hours. As more people turn to drugs and alcohol, oral fluid testing enables the problem to be identified and users offered help.

Workplace absences are a threat to the health of small businesses. By seeking to deal with the issues and help employees with poor absence records, employers and entrepreneurs can ensure their enterprises have much brighter futures.



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