Boost Employee Performance by Managing Staff Absence


Employee performance is an essential part of a successful business. After all, happy employees make for more productive workplaces, Unfortunately, unchecked employee absences can prove detrimental to the company’s bottom line. Managing staff absence is a crucial factor for any company’s success.

Absenteeism can cause tremendous strife and stress, which is why it’s important to determine the root issue of any employee’s constant absence. Without doing so, management runs the risk of letting employees consistently miss work and deadlines.

Fortunately though, by managing absence and addressing these issues head-on, employers and employees alike are empowered with opportunities that help everyone succeed.



What is staff absence?

When an employee continually fails to show up for work, it’s known as absenteeism. This pattern of erratic attendance can negatively affect the company and the resulting workload impacts other team members. Even though sickness absence and emergencies happen occasionally, when excessive absences become frequent, it’s time to take action.

Keeping tabs on employee attendance is critical to ensuring your team members remain productive. Managers should track the patterns of employee absence carefully by measuring the absenteeism rate to spot signs of recurring activities.

Staying alert, while at the same time, supportive, can help ensure a healthy workforce with positive morale – which in turn leads to greater success.

When you are struggling to manage chronic absenteeism, TimeTrack Attendance Tracking is invaluable. Working time models store the employment contracts of all employees and create a precise overview of their working hours. TimeTrack software also allows you to generate reports to have a clear overview of employee attendance tracking.


TimeTrack Attendance Tracking

Types of employee absence

Working with a team of diverse personalities inevitably leads to instances where some may be absent for a day or two. By being able to identify the type of absenteeism, businesses can proactively create solutions that prevent ongoing issues and maintain productivity.

Authorized and planned staff absences

  • Managing time off should be simple and stress-free. Whether it’s a planned holiday, an appointment or sick leave – when the necessary arrangements have been made, any absence can be easily accommodated without disruption to workflow.

Unauthorized absences

  • When employees don’t show up for work with a valid excuse, it can disrupt the workplace’s productivity and morale. Unscheduled absences are challenging as other colleagues must bear the extra burden of tasks while juggling their own workloads.

Unplanned, genuine absences

  • Even when we plan for it, life inevitably brings unexpected absences from work. From illnesses to family emergencies or accidents, these genuine and unavoidable hiccups are simply part of the job. While disruptive at times, they’re common, making flexibility in the workplace essential.

Managing staff absence

Absence management, often known as attendance management, is a strategy used by businesses to minimize employee absence. Managing employee absenteeism is critical to ensure business as usual. You will need a plan of action, including strategies to promote employee wellbeing, as well as final disciplinary policies when required.

Why is absence management important?

Absence management is essential for successful business operations. Unmanaged absences have costly consequences, impacting both your finances and team morale in the workplace.

It also acts as an indicator of greater issues within the company; such as a stressful environment or inadequate training processes that lead to employee burnout and frustration.

By proactively managing these factors, businesses can benefit long-term from increased employee engagement and improved performances.


Managing staff absence

What is an absence management system policy?

An absence management policy is key for any successful business, allowing employees to take time off when needed, while ensuring there isn’t an outrageous amount of absences that could affect productivity.

An absence management policy should include:

  • What a worker must do if they are unable to report for duty. Who should they inform, when should they inform them by and how should they inform them? Is it okay to send a text to their boss, or do they have to use an HR system and report their absence by a certain time?
  • Specifics on how their absences are being tracked. Lazy employees are amongst the most difficult to deal with because they may not be breaching any regulations, but are nonetheless disrupting the workplace. A good manager should consider spending more time with them to motivate them.
  • The workplace may not be the same when they return from an extended leave. The employee may benefit from a brief onboarding, which may include a return to work interview.
  • What happens to their paycheck if they are absent from work? Employees have a right to know how many sick days they are guaranteed, as well as the consequences of abusing those days off.

Managing staff absence with fairness

Find the root cause

  • Have honest conversations with your employees and looking deeper into why they might be missing work. There could be personal issues hindering their focus or health problems preventing them from coming in. It’s possible that stress has caused burnout; or even worse, perhaps they feel unsafe at work.

Stay in contact with absent staff

  • Even though your employee may be away for a family matter or recovering from an illness, it’s important not to neglect them. Feeling disconnected and isolated during their absence is often a concern for them. Reassure them that they’re still part of your team with regular check-ins via text message. Don’t call them to talk about work! Check in simply to make sure they’re okay and provide support if necessary.

Introduce a structured return to work

  • Going back to work after a long term absence can be daunting. Any length of time away from the office can make it difficult to return, especially with a huge workload awaiting. Make the transition easier with structured returns.

A distracted workforce is often unwilling to give their best efforts, which can trigger dwindling customer satisfaction and productivity, and consequently, business failure if management fails to act quickly.

Check in with employees: ask what support they need and debrief them about anything that transpired while gone. Focus on easing anxiety and setting the person up for success.

Incentivize attendance

  • Incentivizing employees can set the tone for a positive and productive work environment. Rewarding hard-working individuals inspires appreciation, allowing their efforts to be acknowledged while they boost productivity rates through improved motivation.

To manage incentive programs more efficiently, consider utilizing good attendance management systems like TimeTrack Timesheets which enables a company to track viable working hours, regular breaks and overtime.


TimeTrack Timesheet

Use absence management software

  • Absence management software is a great way to keep an eye on absences, streamline the time off process and ensure accurate payroll. Automating absence management tracking can provide managers with real-time insight into staffing needs.

Allow for a shorter working week

  • Flexible and shorter work schedules are gaining traction with employees! Keep your team engaged by introducing a host of innovative ways to reduce their hours. In addition to half-day Fridays or flexible schedules, consider reducing everyone’s working hours across the board. You could opt for an inspiring four-day week.

Allow flexible scheduling

  • Working the graveyard or morning shift for an extended period can take a toll on physical and mental health, leading to long-term illness. Flexible scheduling offers people the valuable opportunity to get back into their natural sleep cycle, ensuring they’re getting enough restful shut-eye.

Focus on creating a happy work culture

  • Investing in a healthy work culture can be one of the most beneficial investments an organization makes. A workplace that emphasizes staff wellbeing, communication and mental health leads to less employee absenteeism.

Tips for chronically absent staff

  • Choose an appropriate buffer

Designing an attendance policy should be taken seriously as it’s critical to the success of your business. Decide how many staff absences are acceptable before tackling lateness. Some companies prefer a 15- or 30-minute window. Others require employees to arrive exactly on time for their shifts. Establish this standard and ensure everyone has clarity on expectations.

  • Create escalation levels

Keep your team members on track by setting up a clear and consistent warning system for tardiness. Begin with verbal reminders, then move to written warnings if the issue persists, only opting for probation after any further offenses.

  • Track attendance issues 

Make sure you have an effective system in place to monitor employee attendance. If a spreadsheet isn’t enough, try specialized tools for tracking and managing absenteeism. Make the process as simple and transparent as possible.

  • Embrace remote work and flexible hours

Today’s companies are seeing the tremendous benefits of providing an agile workspace. Employers now recognize that offering flexible working hours and robust remote work policies can ensure that employees adequately manage their job responsibilities while attending to personal matters. This approach increases productivity and reduces days off from work.


  • Know when to take it up a notch

When an employee’s tardiness and absenteeism continue, it’s time to have a formal counseling session. Depending on the company structure it could be with their manager or HR representative. Let them know your expectations for attendance at work as well as reinforce what will happen if these rules are not followed – serious consequences.


A successful organization starts with having the right system and open communication in place for successful absence management – plus a diverse workforce.

By providing employees with the adequate tools to support their wellbeing, as well as the balance between work and personal life, you are creating an environment that will motivate better output.