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Don't Let Unscheduled Absences Wipe You Out

November 19, 2000
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Related Topics: Benefit Design and Communication, Work/Life Balance, Attendance, Featured Article
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According to a survey by CCH Incorporated, employers lost as much as $620 peremployee in unscheduled absences last year. Here are steps you can take to helpemployees manage work/life demands.

  1. Determine if your sick leave policy encourages unscheduled absences. Traditional sick leave policies that provide time off for illness don't allow employees to juggle personal responsibilities. As an alternative, "paid leave banks" allow employees to plan so that workplace accommodations can be made in advance.


  2. Train supervisors to be sensitive to lifestyle issues and signs of stress. The benefits of work/life programs can be unintentionally minimized if supervisors aren't sensitive to the demands employees face outside of work. Train supervisors to increase their awareness, for example, of what it's like to be a single parent.


  3. Give employees tools to deal with personal needs. Companies can benefit from helping employees deal with personal issues. For example, expand employee assistance programs to include counseling  on financial, marriage and career issues.


  4. Examine company workflows and culture to increase flexibility. How work is organized, and perceptions about how work should be performed, can have an adverse impact on work/life issues. Perks like flex-time can improve productivity.


  5. Get families involved. Companies can take steps to recognize the stress that work demands can have on a family. Include them in information sessions about special projects, send spouses on trips with employees, or thank families when projects require employees to be away from home.

Source: "1999 CCH Unscheduled AbsenceSurvey" by CCH Incorporated, based in Riverwoods, Illinois.

Workforce,June 2000, Vol. 79,No. 6, p. 34-- Subscribenow!

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