Types of absence: everything about work stress, sick leave, unplanned & unauthorised absence: For a variety of reasons, companies have to deal with sick leave to a greater or lesser extent. Absence can be as simple as the common cold that is resolved in a few days. But on the other hand, there are also more and more cases where the causes are more difficult to identify directly.
These causes often have to do with stress or even burnout. The reasons for this can vary from taking on too much, working too many hours or too much tension.
An employee generally performs best when there is a good balance between the amount of stress and the amount of well-being. So there is such a thing as too much and not enough stress. When this balance is disturbed and continues, the employee ends up in a negative spiral.
This affects not only the employee in question but also the company where he or she works. The employee’s performance will visibly decrease if there is too much or too little stress. The results that will be achieved will also be of lesser quality.
This phenomenon has nothing to do with unwillingness or lack of motivation, simply there is too much stress. When there is not enough stress, it will have a similar impact. In that case, more challenging work must be sought. It is therefore important to create a good balance in the workplace between stress and relaxation so that the results and production of the employees will increase and improve considerably.
Suspect that an employee may be under negative stress but not sure how to address the matter? Read here >> How to address an employee suffering from stress?
Most companies and organizations have an absenteeism policy. This means that they have drawn up rules that take effect when there is an absence. With such a policy, companies and organizations try to prevent or at least minimize illness among employees.
A preventive attempt is also made to create an optimal climate in the workplace of the organization concerned in the hope that absence will occur less frequently.
The absence policy to reduce all types of absence is part of the company’s strategy. Take a look at this >>> Absence Policy: why so important?
Types of absence
If an employee is sick or unable to be present at work for other reasons, then there is an absence. Absence can be divided into several variants. To begin with, there is the so-called ‘unplanned absenteeism’.
With unplanned absenteeism, there is an employee who is not present in the workplace. This may be because he or she has been exposed to too much stress for too long. A possible consequence of this is, for example, a burnout.
With burnout, you are both emotionally and physically overloaded for too long a time that the employee’s productivity ceases. The employee is too tired to do any work. And if in a rare case you already have some energy to do something, that process is slowed down or even thwarted by your emotional state.
Anxiety prevails and this goes on and on, the employee ends up in a vicious circle that is difficult or even impossible. With unplanned absenteeism you are demonstrably sick, this is a requirement with unplanned absenteeism. You can determine that you are sick by, for example, a psychologist or the company doctor.
As a manager, it is important to know to what extent stress can damage your workplace, be in the know and read this >> The effects of stress on your business.
In the case of unauthorised absence, there is a situation where the employee is not present in the workplace but has no valid reason for it. For example, this may be because the employee in question simply prefers to sleep late or start doing something else that day.
He or she does this under the guise of being sick. So here the rules are abused, also called fraud. In this case, the employee cannot prove that the employee is genuinely ill, simply because this is not the case. People who are susceptible to burnout are the people who rarely take unauthorised absence.
With sick leave, there is a mix between unplanned absenteeism and unauthorised absenteeism. The employee in question goes home sick with demonstrable complaints. This is therefore objectively determined by a doctor or psychologist. This means he or she is absent from the workplace. The employee then remains absent for a longer period, even though this is no longer a medical requirement.
There may be several other reasons for this. For example, an employee may have private problems, in the relational sphere. Daily recurring financial problems are also often a cause. Because of the stress associated with these already existing problems, employees are creating more and more problems. A negative, vicious circle starts.
From an emotional point of view, this puts such a heavy burden on daily life that this can be a reason not to care to show up at work. It also happens regularly that, for example, when an employee has a bad relationship with his or her boss, the employee decides not to show up anymore. For example, because the workload is too high.
This brings a lot of stress daily, not to mention the negative impact this has on the employee’s performance. Also, the private life of the employee often suffers under these circumstances. In the end, he or she ends up in a situation where the feeling is impossible to escape.
This means that he or she no longer wants to appear in the workplace. There is no question of a disease, but we cannot speak of a normal working situation either.
Take a look at Preventing long-term absenteeism. (burnout)
Work Stress based absenteeism
With work-stress based absenteeism there is a separate situation. The employee in question continues to work and is always present in the workplace. Therefore, no illness or absenteeism is declared or detected. While the employee in question does indeed suffer from certain complaints. However, work-stress based absenteeism can be measured in a different way.
The performance of the employee in question is noticeably deteriorating. This is due to the complaints that the employee suffers from. These complaints can have all sorts of causes, such as being overworked, suffering from too much stress and negatively affecting performance. When employees continue to work while they have complaints, they potentially encourage a burnout.
These are often very involved employees, who always show up faithfully and loyally in the workplace and neglect themselves. The result, a situation where both the employer and the employee in question ultimately do not benefit. Productivity decreases, performance decreases.
The phenomenon whereby an employee with complaints still appears in the workplace every day is called presence. As a result, employees have a considerably greater chance of being burned out. It is essential for both body and mind to take time off, to avoid becoming overworked. When this happens, burnout is just waiting for the moment when things go wrong.
>> Read also: Who is responsible for sick leave?
Reasons for work stress-based absenteeism
First of all, work stress absenteeism is difficult or impossible to recognize. An employee usually knows how to pretend that nothing is wrong. Often the employee also comes across as normal, which makes it very difficult to recognize any complaints. The question is of course why an employee decides to come to work despite real complaints. There are many reasons for this.
Practical examples are now available (afterwards). One reason that is often mentioned is “afraid of losing my job.” When an employee works in a large company with many employees, some employees quickly get the feeling that they do not necessarily have added value as an employee compared to any other employee. The idea is often that if they say they are ill or otherwise give complaints, the chance of being fired increases.
Employees can, therefore, fear that their jobs are at risk and therefore choose to continue working, against their better judgment. As a result, in addition to decreased productivity, there is also a considerable daily recurrence of stress. In this way, the employee is overburdened daily, both physically and mentally. work stress-based absenteeism can, therefore, be interpreted as reduced work capacity.
An article worth reading: How well do your employees indicate their boundaries? You help them this way
Focus on work-stress based absenteeism!
The lesson that many companies should take from this is that people are not only concerned with the sick leave, unauthorised and unplanned types of absenteeism. Of course, the unplanned and unauthorised variants are easier to detect, the sick leave ones to a lesser extent. Perhaps the work-stress based absenteeism is the most important of the 4 types of absenteeism discussed.
Because nobody gains when an employee becomes overworked due to work-stress based absence, which eventually ends up in a burnout situation. In certain cases, burnout can take up to years before it passes.
If a company can detect work-stress based absenteeism early, this is not only better for the employee in question, but also a cost-saving item for the company. Apart from the human suffering caused by burnout of employees, burnout can easily cost € 70,000. Just like the employee, a company, therefore, has every interest to detect work-stress based absenteeism in time.
Once work-stress based absenteeism has been established by an employee, preventive measures must be taken for this as soon as possible. The long-term stress and physical fatigue must now be allowed enough time to fully relax.
Have a look at how to relax for employees.
It is important here to engage a professional who understands how a person can stay resilient at work. Both the employee and the employer bear the fruits of this.
Wondering how you can create a better work atmosphere for your employees in order to reduce stress and burnout? this article is perfect.
Lowering all types of absence
Sick leave and work-stress based absence variants, in particular, are often difficult areas for companies. Complaints and causes are difficult to determine because the employee keeps them to himself for all sorts of reasons. What can certainly be established is that employers (also in their own interest) should delve much more into sick leave and work-stress based absenteeism. The knife cuts both ways: The employer has a productive employee and the employee is not trapped in a life full of stress and anxiety.
More and more employers are happily taking up this glove. They realize that early recognition, but especially preferably the complete occurrence of sick leave and work-stress based absenteeism, also works to their own advantage. More and more companies are setting up flexible workplaces in a relaxed setting. In addition, communication in the form of evaluation interviews has increased.
Not only the performance of the employee is central to such a conversation, but the whole person is also increasingly looked at. For example, how the employee feels, where he or she has comments. There are also more and more contact points at companies where employees can go confidentially with matters that they would otherwise keep to themselves or other workmates.
In this way, important information nevertheless ends up with the employer and can implement these adjustments in the workplace to prevent sick leave and work-stress based absenteeism.
Is burnout a genuine excuse? read on to find out more about burnout and how it affects employees here.
Conquer burnout and stress
Reducing stress and recovering from burnout can be quite the challenge. With the help of our professional coaches, we are convinced that a full recovery is within reach. Our years of experience has taught us what stepping stones will help you reach your goal more effectively and how to make sure the changes you make will be of help to you for the rest of your life. Let’s turn your burnout or stress into your best life ever.
Please check out our 3-step process: