Flexibility key to cutting absenteeism

Flexible working reduces staff absenteeism, according to Industrial Society

Many of the 300 HR professionals surveyed in Managing Attendance claim that
the reduction in staff absence is due to the introduction of flexible working
hours, annual leave and home-working practices.

The rate of absence has fallen from eight days per employee, per year to 6.5
days over the past 18 months.

Fifty-five per cent of HR respondents claim more flexible working hours has
significantly helped with the problem, and nearly half claim flexible annual
leave has been important. Forty per cent also believe that home working has

The survey shows that employers are improving their absence monitoring too,
although they are not measuring its cost.

Four out of 10 companies report all absences, and a third report nine out of
10 of all time taken off work – an increase of 8 per cent in reporting since

Over 60 per cent of HR professionals cite motivation and return-to-work
interviews as the best way of managing attendance.

Theo Blackwell, policy specialist at the Industrial Society, said, "Absenteeism
hits productivity and morale in organisations. Firms should regularly examine
the cause of absence and take appropriate action.

"This report provides even more evidence of the business case for
flexible working. According to HR professionals, more flexibility seems to
equal less time of sick and a healthier, happier and more loyal


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