Common reasons for employee absence (and how to avoid them)

Travel delays could cause employee absences.

Employee absenteeism is no small matter for modern businesses. According to Circadian, worker absences can cost a company $3,600 per hourly employee and $2,650 per salaried employee annually. Additionally, unscheduled and unexplained absences can result in reduced office productivity, higher turnover and an increased number of dissatisfied customers. Organizations have begun to realize implementing an absence management plan can help them monitor these occurrences and attempt to reduce them.

One of the elements of these policies is collecting data to discover why people are missing work. Here's a breakdown of the most popular reasons for employee absences:

It's common for workers to use their sick days for ailments other than illness. One of the most popular causes of absenteeism is stress. According to The Kronos Global Absence Survey, 62 percent of Americans cited overwhelming pressure as their reason for taking a day off. There are a variety of origins for people's stress, from family problems to office conflicts, Business in Vancouver reported. Since too much pressure can actually cause people to be less productive – thus needing to be absent – companies have to find an answer for the root of the issue. Once leaders have addressed stressors, organizations can focus on creating a calm and effective environment.

Stress can cause employees to miss work.Stress can cause employees to miss work.

Every employee has experienced public transportation delays or traffic on the highway when trying to get to work on time. Travel issues can cause employees to not only show up late, but to miss a day at the office altogether, HR magazine said. This reason for absence can hurt workplace morale, making people even less productive when they make it into their place of employment.

To combat this issue, businesses are beginning to implement flexible work arrangements, including the opportunity for employees to create their own schedule or telecommute during the week. A study from the University of Minnesota published in the American Sociological Review found workers who were able to take advantage of this kind of program felt as though they had more support from company leadership and were more productive when given the option to choose where they operated.

"Employees may call in sick to attend job interviews."

Job search
It's been said before: Looking for new employment is a job in itself. It's also a reason why employees are commonly absent. Whether it's calling in sick to attend a job interview or to work on their resume and cover letter, searching for a new job can cause employees to be less engaged in their current position and the duties it includes, according to Forbes. As a result, workplaces could note a drop in productivity.

To keep people interested in their job and employer, companies have to develop strong retention strategies. These tactics will keep people around longer and make them feel more loyal to the business itself. Offering comprehensive benefits packages and developing an interactive company culture are two great ways to encourage people to stay.

Employee absenteeism is still a large problem facing organizations across the country today. Workers may skip work for a variety of reasons, but stress, travel and searching for a new job are some of the most common. It's crucial for employers to create ways to support their employees to strengthen their retention rates.