HR and line managers are working together to manage absenteeism but could benefit from taking a more flexible approach, according to a report by Midland HR.
Absenteeism costs the UK nearly £30bn annually – equating to more than seven days lost per person. However government figures predict that flexible working rights will encourage a 38% drop in absenteeism, benefiting UK businesses by £55.8m.
One contributor to absenteeism can be the poor implementation of, or no, flexible working practice, said the report. This can increase levels of short-term absence as people stay home for personal errands or when childcare falls through.
It said organisations need to get a grip on the state of absenteeism across their business. This includes measuring and reporting on a range of factors, such as dates, length of time, employees’ role and line manager. While the need for reporting hasn’t changed much over the past 20 years, 66% of those questioned say they want the information in real-time and 54% want alerts to update them as things change.
Author Richard Thomas, director at Midland HR, said there is a lack of consistency in the way businesses measure and report absenteeism. “The way businesses measure absence needs to improve and the only way this can truly occur is by improving the entire absence management process,” he said. “Management teams need to be able to draw meaningful insights from these reports so that they can improve their processes, management styles, employee engagement, productivity and, crucially, the bottom line.”
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