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Since the beginning of the pandemic, employee absences have noticeably risen. Of course, 
there was furlough and the necessity for remote working but even now, this is still an issue. 
With different restrictions and isolation periods, especially for those with children, employees 
aren’t always able to make it into the office. So what can you do about it? 
 
As an employer, this is a difficult situation to manage, but it is possible to reduce employee 
absenteeism during the coronavirus outbreak. Here are 7 effective strategies to boost 
attendance and productivity. 
1. Update your absence records 
 
Now more than ever, it’s crucial that you keep on top of your absence records. With current 
Covid-19 restrictions, 'leave due to isolation' also comes under the umbrella of sick leave. To 
get a clearer understanding of your employee absenteeism, start categorising your sick 
leave. This way you can monitor what leave is Covid-19 related, whether any unfortunate 
patterns begin to occur, and what government support you can receive regarding SSP. 
 
2. Flexible working practises 
 
Flexible working can benefit both you and your employees (and it positively impacts 
employee absenteeism). How? Because without the pressure of restrictive work policies, 
employees are able to fit their lifestyle around their working day! By accommodating 
personal appointments, you reduce the need to request leave in fear of tardiness or over-run 
appointments and it boosts wellbeing. And that’s not even mentioning that flexible working is 
very attractive to prospective employees. 
 
3. Prioritise productivity 
 
This may seem obvious, but prioritising work completion over hours spent on-site can really 
benefit your business. Not all sick days are due to sickness and understanding that can 
reduce employee absenteeism. By allowing your employees to work from home on these 
occasions, you’re encouraging greater productivity and avoiding them feeling like they need 
to take an entire day of leave. Foster a results-based outcome rather than a time-based one! 
 
4. Speak to your team 
 
With all the trials of everyday life, it’s important to understand that your employees are only 
human. To tackle excessive absenteeism for personal reasons: 
● create an environment where your employees feel heard and understood 
● check in with your team and individuals regularly! 
Sometimes absences can be highly personal so create an open conversation between 
employee and employer. This can provide great insight into the employee work experience, 
how to better support them and how to prevent absences. 
 
5. Compromise can create solutions 
 
With circumstances changing so quickly, it’s understandable that not everyone is adjusting 
at the same pace. Perhaps someone is clinically vulnerable and anxious about returning to 
the office? Or maybe they’re overwhelmed balancing work and home schooling? Whatever 
the circumstance, it’s important to be considerate of your employees' own challenges, as 
these anxieties could be responsible for much of your employee absenteeism. Try to reach a 
compromise. Whether it be creating a work from home policy or even offering a reduction in 
hours. Employees that feel better, work better. 
 
6. Encourage team spirit 
 
If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we all need community. You can create that 
community within your business! Be it through traditional team-building exercises, charity 
events, or even incentivising healthy competition - encouraging team spirit can hugely 
improve your employee absenteeism. In not wanting to let others down, some people may 
choose to cancel leave (if well enough) or even offer to take on extra work when someone 
else is absent. 
 
7. Review your Paid Time Off (PTO) policies 
 
Once again, our social calendars have become incredibly full. With places reopening, our 
time off is now a battle between our responsibilities and an expectation to be social. This can 
easily become overwhelming and can often lead to stress, burnout and even sickness. To 
prevent this from happening, ensure your employees have sufficient PTO. Not only does this 
act as a preventative for employee absences, but it can also increase engagement and 
attract prospective employees. 
 
By talking with your team and embracing a little flexibility, these strategies can effectively 
combat any absentee issues you're facing due to Covid-19. With minimal financial cost, you 
can support your employees and boost productivity, whilst safely navigating your business 
through these uncertain times. 
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