Reasons Employees Have Bad Attendance

by Neil Kokemuller

Poor attendance of employees is problematic for companies. As a manager, you need to maintain a positive work atmosphere, to openly communicate with employees and to monitor employee attendance for potential abuses. While some reasons for employee absenteeism are common and understandable, others may require intervention.

Poor Health

Employers commonly offer sick days to accommodate periodic illness. An employee might reasonably miss one to two days a year for illness. Long-term bouts of poor health are usually less common. Some companies maintain policies of requiring doctor's notes for extended illnesses that last three days or longer. Stress and feelings of burnout with a job can also lead to absenteeism and may cause feelings of depression and heart conditions, according to a January 2013 article in The Nation by Dr. Gerard Lalande. The employer may need to consider ways to take some of the pressure off employees or help in developing stress-reduction techniques.

Poor Morale

In some workplaces with low morale, the environment becomes so toxic that an employee simply can't get out of bed in the morning. Constant criticism from managers, poor relationships with colleagues and co-workers, pressure to perform for clients and customers and generally unpleasant working conditions can all contribute. While some aspects of the work are hard to mitigate, a key role of an effective manager is to communicate with employees, discuss considers, provide a team environment, incorporate fun or relaxation into the day and develop a generally positive atmosphere.

Family Problems

Workers also may miss one or more days to meet family responsibilities. A parent, for instance, might be stuck at home if a child gets sick or day care cancels in the morning. This is a tradeoff for employers that actively pursue working parents or try to accommodate their need for balance. It helps to establish clear policies on the number of personal days allowed or whether sick days extend to immediate family members. Additionally, workers may need bereavement leave for funerals or to take a day or two when a family emergency arises.

Poor Job Commitment

Some employees either lack commitment to their jobs or experience overall general dissatisfaction with the work. An employee who doesn't need the money because of a working spouse or other means of income may just decide to take the risk of getting fired to skip a day here and there. Others have poor work ethics and will push the envelope by using all available vacation, personal and sick days. Again, clear policies and communication with employees may help uncover such attitudes or protect against them.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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