If you want to maximize productivity in your small business, you have to deal with two major issues: absenteeism and presenteeism. Employee absences tend to draw the most attention from business owners because they’re easy to track, but presenteeism can be just as much, if not more, of an issue. Taking steps to reduce both absenteeism and presenteeism helps keeps your business running smoothly.
What Is Absenteeism?
Absenteeism refers to an employee who doesn’t work at all on a given day. That employee might miss work because of an illness, emergency, important prior engagement, or, less commonly, simply to get a day off. When you have an employee out for the day, your productivity takes a hit. The slowed productivity can carry over into subsequent days as the employee tries to catch up on work. If your business pays sick leave, then you also lose money there. For employees, taking an absence can be stressful, as they worry that it looks bad in the eyes of their employer.
What Is Presenteeism?
Presenteeism occurs when an employee shows up to work but performs at a productivity level that’s lower than normal. Possible reasons for decreased productivity may include illness, stress, or issues with motivation. The obvious problem with presenteeism is that you’re paying employees for a level of productivity they don’t achieve. That essentially means you’re not getting your money’s worth, because you’re paying for sub-par work. Sick employees who show up to work can also spread their germs to other employees, further affecting your business’s overall productivity.
Flexibility and Understanding Are Key
A key to minimizing absenteeism and presenteeism is letting employees know that it’s okay to miss work when necessary. This may seem counterintuitive, but presenteeism is often a bigger issue than absenteeism. Employees may come in sick because they feel like they can’t miss work. Consider offering some flexibility in terms of scheduling or the option to telecommute, both of which can help cut down on absences. That way, an employee who feels under the weather or has an emergency in the morning can simply come in to work later that day or work from home.
Outside Issues Affecting Your Employees
Sometimes productivity issues stem from stress or mental illness. You can help your employees deal with issues outside work by offering employee assistance programs or counseling options. Despite the added expense, prioritizing the mental health of your employees can benefit your business in the long run. When counseling programs help your employees maintain their mental health, they’re better able to focus on work and increase productivity, which makes your business stronger overall. Their improved mental health may also help minimize absenteeism and presenteeism.
Taking Corrective Action
While it’s important to be understanding and flexible and to help your employees as much as possible, repeated absences and lackadaisical performance require corrective action. It’s usually best to start addressing the issue as soon as it becomes a problem. If you have an employee who misses more work than normal, consider sitting down with them to figure out what’s happening. Maybe the two of you can come up with a plan to reduce missed work time. If you allow for plenty of correctional opportunities but don’t see any positive results, though, it may be time to let the employee know that termination is a possibility.
Having employees at work, focused, and productive ultimately helps your bottom line. You can track your finances and other aspects of running your business with QuickBooks. The QuickBooks Self-Employed app helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors track and manage business on the go. Download the app now.