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What Are the Effects of Absenteeism?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
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In a majority of businesses, employees are interconnected and depend on one another to get a job done, making the effects of absenteeism widespread. The effects of absenteeism are not only felt by the company but by the employees. Other employees will have to work harder during the absence of a co-worker; if that employee is crucial to the workflow, then the absence can majorly disrupt a project. The absent employee also may feel isolated, especially if he or she depends on work for social interaction. If customers depend on that employee — or on a rapid response that is missing because of staff shorthandedness — the customer may be disappointed or frustrated and leave the business as a result of employee absence.

The effects of absenteeism on a business are obvious. The workers who show up for work will have to work harder to ensure the project is done in the same amount of time. If the absent employee is important to the workflow, whether because of a particular skill or information, then work will be disrupted and the project may be impossible to finish. This costs the business money and causes a great deal of stress for the company as a whole, especially if absenteeism is a frequent problem.

For the customer, the effects of absenteeism may result in customers leaving the business and finding a new one to frequent. This may be because the absent employee was that customer’s contact and, without him or her present, the customer may feel uncomfortable or not get the necessary level of service. If a customer expects a quick response but is asked to wait an unusually long time because other employees are covering their own customers and those of the absent worker, that customer also may leave out of frustration with the delayed response.

Employees who involuntarily miss a lot of work because of illness may have emotional issues resulting from their absenteeism. Those employees may feel isolated, because they depend on the social interaction available in the workplace. This can lead to depression in some employees.

The causes for absenteeism are varied. Most commonly, an employee is sick but will return within a few days and there is not much a manager can or should do about this. Employees who would rather be with friends than hard at work may be absent just to have fun. If caught, this type of absenteeism usually elicits disciplinary responses to make the employee understand that he or she cannot just leave work. For those with disabilities, allowing the employee to work at home or giving him or her manageable tasks to help get some work completed can alleviate the effects of absenteeism.

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