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The impact of absenteeism on British businesses


There are many reasons why an employee may be absent from work. Getting to the bottom of these causes may help to prevent future absences.

Although the odd absence here and there is to be expected for various reasons beyond the control of those concerned, when this becomes excessive then a company’s bottom line and productivity can be negatively affected as a result. Below, we list some of the main reasons why an employee may decide to take some time off and how to reduce this possibility. \

Illnesses and injury

The majority of workers claim the reason they take time off is due to illnesses, which can either be physical or mental. While employers must ensure they are not unfairly penalising anyone who decides to take time off due to genuine sickness, if this is occurring on a regular basis, then it may be a good time to look at whether there are any ways the firm can make adjustments to facilitate that employee’s return to work. On the other hand, if you notice a definite pattern with sick leave, for example it is always taken on a Monday, then you have grounds for initiating disciplinary action. Technology such as absence management software can make it easier for employers to spot anomalies, as well as **to gather evidence and employee data.

Bullying and harassment

Another major reason for unplanned absences is bullying in the workplace. Often, the stress of the situation will cause a staff member to call in sick. To avoid this unwelcome scenario, it is always prudent to establish a strong anti-bullying policy and make it easy for employees to approach a trusted supervisor with their concerns.


Taking care of a child or other dependant can put many employees under pressure and cause them to take leave from work. This to a certain extent can be mitigated or prevented by establishing childcare schemes and flexible working arrangements where possible in the workplace.

Low morale

Those struggling with morale issues may decide to skip work if they have no motivation to attend. Again, it is important to get to the bottom of why this may be occurring and engage with employees on a regular basis to incentivise workers and boost morale.

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