Worker absenteeism: causes and consequences of this phenomenon

Worker absenteeism: causes and consequences of this phenomenon

absenteeism is one of the most important problems facing companies today. There are many factors that can affect the performance of an organisation, and the socio-economic and social environment is extremely important in this respect.

Since the beginning of the economic crisis in Spain, the working conditions of many employees have changed , and the fear of losing their job can lead many workers to hold on to their position despite not being fully motivated or unhappy.

Worker absenteeism or “empty chair syndrome”: causes and consequences

In our article “The Survivor Syndrome: Working in times of crisis can damage your health” we talk about the negative consequences of the crisis for the well-being of the worker. , on the other hand, affects the organization in a negative way as the productivity and performance of employees decreases.

Workplace absenteeism or truancy: what is it?

attendance or absence from work , refers to going to and being present at the workplace, but devoting part of the working day to other functions that are not proper to the job . Among these functions we can find: connecting to social networks, consulting websites, making calls, etc.

Although absenteeism is the opposite of absenteeism , its consequences for the organization are just as damaging.

Negative consequences of absenteeism

In the past, the main problem for organizations was absenteeism , but as absenteeism has decreased due to the economic crisis, the percentage of employees suffering from absenteeism has increased. According to Adecco, one out of two Spanish companies admits to having up to 10% of workers who are absent from work . On the other hand, a study by Harvard Business Review seems to indicate that absenteeism costs American companies around $150 billion dollars a year.

Despite the reduction in absenteeism, there has been no improvement in the productivity and work performance of companies, as what has happened is that the phenomenon of absenteeism has given way to that of absenteeism. Employees seem to be aware of the difficult situation in the labour market and do not want to risk losing their jobs. So, they go to the workplace so that they cannot be blamed for absenteeism, but nevertheless their dedication in those hours is not as efficient as it should be .

Negative effects for the company

Knowing this, it should be mentioned that work attendance affects the organization in different ways:

  • Descending from worker and organizational productivity
  • Worsening employee health : absenteeism eventually leads to fatigue and boredom (also called ‘Boreout syndrome’)
  • Favouring the transmission of diseases : when a person is ill but decides to go to work so as not to lose his or her job, he or she may favour the transmission of diseases

Factors influencing absenteeism

If these are the consequences of having people present at work, we should ask ourselves what reasons lead employees to carry out behaviours related to absenteeism . Below is a list of the most common causes:

  • The lack of job security may cause an individual not to want to be absent from his or her job in spite of being sick or unmotivated, as the uncertainty regarding being able to get a job again may cause him or her not to want to lose the job under any circumstances.
  • Individuals working in certain jobs may be more prone to absenteeism. Research seems to indicate that teachers and health professionals are more vulnerable to it.
  • Jobs with higher workloads are associated with more cases of absenteeism, as workers may want to avoid the accumulation of tasks if they are absent from their position.
  • Excessive pressure from superiors is also a factor in absenteeism.
  • The lack of motivation is behind many cases of absenteeism. In addition, other possible causes may be: lack of promotion and the performance of monotonous tasks in their jobs

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