What is Absenteeism, and How Can Your Team Avoid It?

Guest written by By: Ruella Jenell

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Absenteeism is the habitual absence of an employee. This absence extends beyond taking days off for acceptable reasons (such as sickness, vacation, and emergencies) for a reasonable amount of time. Absenteeism will negatively impact your company, since your employee will tend to disappear unexpectedly and repeatedly, and you might have to legally still pay them. Most of the time, an employee doesn’t become an absentee simply because they want to. It’s probably the effect of something they are struggling with. Here are a few reasons for absenteeism to occur:


According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is the number one reason for absenteeism. This might go unchecked since employees may be afraid that any treatment will affect their job, or their insurance won’t be able to cover their treatment. While it is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, it is sometimes also caused by a person’s circumstances. If an employee has depression, it is possible that something in their life, whether personal or in the workplace, is causing it.


This mocking or intimidating behavior targets a single person or a group of people in the workplace, and can evolve into straight up harassment. There are different types of bullying, the worst of which might be institutional. This is when the workplace itself allows and maybe even encourages bullying, so there is no one to turn to in the event that someone is victimized. Being bullied constantly can lead to depression and anxiety, and can also cause digestive problems and high blood pressure.

Stress and burnout

There are many factors that can cause stress, which will eventually lead to burnout, such as the nature of the job, workplace dynamics, health, personal conflicts, and more. Studies have also revealed how financial stress often leads to emotional and physical distress, which, in turn, can add even more financial pressure on a person. This vicious cycle is seen in how people in debt or those experiencing financial strain are more likely to develop depression, ulcers, and even blood pressure problems — all of which contribute to further stress and burnout among your staff and them taking more time off.

Solutions for absenteeism

Absenteeism usually isn’t something an employee wanted to happen. Fortunately, there are a few things that the managers and team leaders can do to lessen it. Here are two of the most helpful solutions:

Have a detailed attendance policy

Sometimes, conflict among people in the office might arise from certain employees being extreme absentees, so stress builds up due to more work and less people to do it. Something good to try first is creating a detailed attendance policy and communicating this properly to the employees so everyone is aware of their responsibilities. Include information such as how to report absences, and consequences for excessive absenteeism. Employers can take proactive steps such as rewarding good attendance to help discourage absenteeism.

Reduce stress in the workplace

It’s important to always be mindful of what can unnecessarily stress an employee in the workplace, so it can be addressed as fast as possible. A big help to reducing stress is providing support, both while the employee is at work and while absent to attend to a personal issue. This will make the employee feel that they are valuable to the company, and will try to bounce back without repeated absenteeism. Implement programs that put importance on physical and mental health, so employees know that the employers care for their wellbeing as well, and don’t just see them as workers.

Whatever solution a manager or team leader will implement, it’s important to also ask for feedback from the employees to really understand what they need and if the supposed solution is really helping. Try our cloud-based time and attendance system to start your journey to preventing absenteeism.

Specially written for EasyTimeClock.com

By: Ruella Jenell