Reduce Absenteeism and Raise Your Business Productivity

Does your business suffer from absenteeism? Absenteeism weakens businesses reduces profits and stifles productivity.  The cost of absenteeism is difficult to quantify. In the US, has been calculated the direct wage losses totaled more than $40 billion per year. However, there are many other losses which are incurred directly as a result of absenteeism.Some of these losses includeo Production planning becomes very difficult.
o Increased administration costs.
o The loss of customers because of delays in delivery.
o Low productivity overall by the workforce.
o Teams become dysfunctional.
o Quality levels fall.
o Safety levels fall.The less tangible costs are just as damaging to the business. When a team member is absent the discretionary effort of the remainder of the team is diminished. In turn, overall productivity often falls, job stress rises, team spirit is reduced and there is an increase in resentment in the workforce. All these contribute to the erosion of profits.Two tactics that are commonly used and don’t work.1. Shouting. There is no point of shouting at a member of staff to change their attendance record. This is like trying to steer your car using the horn!2. Punishment. There are many ways of applying punishment to work. Giving people very boring jobs, reducing overtime, constant criticism, restricting the employee from doing popular jobs, ignoring them and giving them the last pick of times for holidays. None of these work because resentful staff become even more un-cooperative and output falls further.The silver bullet for dealing with the absenteeism problem.There is no silver bullet! In other words, there isn’t one method of dealing with absenteeism that works best for all businesses. Strategies and tactics that work well for medical workers, may be totally ineffective for car assemblers.  Problems of absenteeism require considerable thought, the evaluation of options and a plan to be successful.Give Your Leaders the Right Tools for the Job.There are some basic rules for designing your own effective absentee program. It is all to do with giving people in leadership positions the right tools. If they don’t have the right tools they will have very little influence.Basic Rules1. Let your staff know what level attendance is expected of them and what the consequences are if they meet the expectations and the consequences if they fail to meet the expectations.2. Measure and track absenteeism and record the performance in graph form which is posted in a public area.3. Give feedback on attendance by discussing absenteeism with the staff on a regular basis.4. Help employees maintain or improve their attendance records by discussing their reasons for not attending work and offering some solutions.5. Carefully match people to jobs. Motivated members of staff normally have good attendance records.6. Recognise good attendance performance by having regular meetings with your staff and making sure that attendance is a regular agenda item.7. Let them know straight away when they are not meeting the agreed on attendance performance levels.8. Train supervisors to support the absentee program and contribute to it.9. Make sure that there is a clear objective that is shared among all staff and that they agree it is achievable.10. Fine-tune the absentee program to meet operational needs so that it will evolve into a more valuable program that gives you what you want.11. Learn more about practical human motivation.Creating better attendance performance.Here are some of the things that you can do to improve attendance records.  They are in the form of 9 questions which you can tick off if you are consistently applying them.

When staff call in absent, do they talk to you personally?
Do you counsel staff in their attendance record starts to worsen?
Do you make a note of every unplanned absence and graph it?
Do you have an attendance policy and do your staff sign that when they start work with you?
Do you apply your absenteeism strategies consistently?
Do you have a limit in your attendance policy after which you will ask for medical certificates for every subsequent absence?
Do you discuss attendance records and absences during your team talks with your staff?
Do you interview your staff after every single absence?
Do you give positive feedback for good attendance records?
If you are not applying these tactics consistently, it is suggested that you start and watch your attendance records improve.

Office Essentials For Business Productivity

You may have heard the saying, “a place for everything, and everything in its place”. This is a critical organizing concept. Take a look around your office; specifically look at your piles. If you know right where something belongs, it is easy to return it to that spot. Usually the items that pile up do so because they don’t have a home. Don’t leave any of your papers in your office “homeless” and piling up.Follow this list of essential items that every productive office needs and eliminate the piles of homeless items in your office:

Inbox – Whether you work alone in your home office, or you have a steady stream of visitors, it is imperative that you have a physical inbox. An inbox give you one consistent place in your office to put new items. You can’t always process them immediately, so you need to have a home for them.

Outbox – This gives you a spot for the items that are ready to leave your office (e.g. out-going mail, a task to delegate, etc.)

‘To File’ Tray – This provides a spot for the papers or files that need to be filed. They might come from your inbox, or they could be papers or files that had been pulled and need to be re-filed. If you have an assistant, create a process so that they check it daily and file any items in this tray.

Shredder – You need to have access to a shredder. It doesn’t matter whether you have a small shredder in your office or a large shredding console in your building, as long as you have the means to shred sensitive information.

Recycle Bin – If you and your office recycle, place a bin in your office or your building to easily enable this habit.

Wastebasket – This might seem obvious, but you need to have a home for the trash, too!

Calendar – It doesn’t matter whether it is paper or electronic, but you must have a “home” for your appointments if you want to stay on schedule.

Contact Management System – This can take many shapes - an old-fashioned Rolodex, or software such as Microsoft Outlook, ACT!, Highrise, or Salesforce.com. The important thing is to have one place to go to find contact information when you need it.

Action Files – You need files setup to manage your active projects and daily to-dos.

Reference Files – You need a filing system that makes sense to all parties involved so that you can easily file items for future reference and most importantly, find them when you need them.
Implement these essentials in your office, and watch your productivity soar!