Sometimes you just don’t want your employees to come to work. If they’re sick, it’s better for their health (and everyone else’s) if they stay home. In fact, it’s so important that California now requires all employers to provide paid sick leave.
We certainly wouldn’t deny the benefits of sick days, whether they’re paid or not. But there can be times when the health of your employee engagement is better without them.
Checking Out Mentally And Physically
Illness is just one of a variety of reasons that someone doesn’t come to work. If you have a disengaged employee—someone whose mind isn’t in the work—don’t be surprised if their physical attendance follows suit.
In fact, according to Gallup, higher rates of absenteeism are connected to lower rates of engagement. How much higher? Try 37% more for units with disengaged employees than those with high engagement. In other words, when a worker isn’t enthusiastic about their job, they’re more likely not to show up to that job.
The Ripple Effect
When this happens, the consequences spread outward to the rest of the company. The Society for Human Resource Management notes the effects of unplanned absences on organizations: lower productivity, lower quality of work, higher stress for coworkers ... It’s a worrisome list.
And unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. You’re not just dealing with one bad apple. That person is affecting your other workers’ engagement more than you are. Employee happiness is 23.3% more correlated to how they rate their coworkers versus their direct supervisors. So if you have one team member who’s disengaged, chances are their poor performance is making the rest of your team unhappy too.
Keeping Engagement Levels Healthy
It’s scary to think that one disengaged employee’s absenteeism could infect the coworkers around them. But this effect points us at the solution to the problem: engagement. Make sure the people at your company want to be there, and you won’t have to worry about them calling out sick for no good reason.
What’s more, Gallup found that the more engaged an employee is, the higher their overall well-being. And well-being feeds into physical health. So yes, you actually can make your employees sick less often!
The Message Of Absence
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on all employees who are frequently absent. If they have an illness or personal issue that’s taking them away from work, offer support and help them make a plan to get their responsibilities covered. That will reduce their stress as well as minimizing the impact on the rest of your team.
On the other hand, if someone doesn’t show up because they aren’t engaged at work, that’s a red flag for you, and you’ll want to tackle that immediately. They’re telling you something by not being there, so take care of it for their sake and for the rest of your company.