Why is it important to focus on the emotional well-being of your team?

Taking a coffee break, going downstairs to smoke or simply picking up a mobile phone at work are normal behaviours that we all do. However, when these small breaks turn into bigger absences in the work environment, this phenomenon is called absenteeism. Most of the causes of absenteeism are related to the emotional well-being that workers experience at work, followed by their well-being outside the work environment and, finally, justified absenteeism, which is the least common or affects the company the least.

As a result, many companies are committed to caring for the emotional well-being of their employees in order to prevent excessive breaks, absenteeism and different behaviours that affect not only workers but also the company's performance.

Learn how to track absenteeism in your company

Absenteeism is the justified or unjustified absence of employees from work. This absence has great effects on the performance and productivity of the company since when absenteeism is persistent, the functions performed by these people are no longer covered, and it implies the need for an internal reorganisation of tasks or a delay in the overall operation.

Absenteeism is one of the most worrying behaviours for companies. However, other behaviours closely related to absenteeism can lead to absenteeism. For example, short breaks are restorative, but a variant of absenteeism is the frequency or duration of breaks that employees may take. These behaviours are also red flags that have led many employers to consider different solutions to the problem.

There are three types of absenteeism, depending on how they are performed.

  • Foreseeable and justifiable absences: these are absences that the employee has anticipated in advance and with a justified reason. These absences may be of longer or shorter duration depending on the reason given. Others may be unforeseeable but justifiable, which are even less frequent but are of less concern to the employer as they tend to be occasional and usually due to an emergency or accident.
  • Unforeseeable and unjustifiable absenteeism: absences that the worker has not informed that they were going to occur and no justified cause can be found for them. These absences are more worrying for the employer since there is no justification to support it, and it indicates that the worker is not motivated or has some problem going to his post and performing his duties properly.
  • Absenteeism while being present: this last type of absenteeism is when workers are physically present at their workplace but do not carry out their tasks effectively or carry out other behaviours unrelated to their functions, such as taking too many breaks. This absenteeism is the one that is most related to the worker's motivation for their job, equipment or tasks. It is often one of the most difficult to detect as it takes time to identify.

The importance of addressing it at the earliest warning signs 

Many companies have noticed not only a decrease in the performance of their employees, and therefore a negative effect on the company's productivity, but also other negative consequences of not addressing this problem.

  • Talent drain: If there is one thing we consider valuable within our team, it is its members' talent. Many companies have found themselves in trouble when they found that talent was escaping. When our employees are not in an optimal situation or do not see their emotional well-being at work attended to, they decide to look for other employment options. This has a negative impact on the company because if we do not manage to retain talent, our team will be less effective.
  • Affected work climate: it has been proven that emotions and moods can be transmitted between people, and this also applies to the work environment. When an employee is motivated, happy and energetic at work, this can be contagious. However, the opposite is also true: when our employees are demotivated, feel unheard or unappreciated, this is also transmitted to their environment and can generate a collective feeling.
  • Work-related demotivation: when our employees do not feel that their emotional well-being is being attended to and they encounter difficulties in their usual performance, personal difficulties may appear, such as low self-esteem, imposter syndrome, difficulty concentrating and, on occasions, anxiety, depression or the well-known burnout syndrome. When these situations occur, our workers will need a break or time off work in order to regain their security and emotional well-being. This, at least temporarily until they recover, will have a negative cost for the team, their co-workers and the general functioning of the company.
  • Overload on the rest of the colleagues: in addition to this overload when one of the colleagues is on sick leave, it can also occur in present absenteeism; especially in jobs where joint objectives must be achieved. When one of the members does not perform their duties, the rest of the team is affected, even having to take on this colleague's duties to get their work done. This creates a situation of discomfort among the rest of the employees, and is likely to affect their motivation and emotional well-being in the long run.

What can companies do to anticipate this problem

Faced with this problem, which more and more companies are facing, especially since the arrival of the pandemic that has had a significant emotional impact on the population, many solutions have emerged that can help us to reduce absenteeism and prevent it. If we only solve the present problem but do not worry about preventing it from occurring in the future, we would be patching up the problem. There are small and significant changes that can reduce absenteeism, and other problems related to emotional well-being, to a minimum in our company:

  • Team building: we used to believe that a team was formed naturally, with the passage of time and contact between its members. Nowadays, however, we see that this is more complex, as the weight of stress, conflicts and communication problems can generate a negative climate in the team. In addition, teleworking has also been a barrier to strengthening ties and encouraging people to show themselves beyond their professional roles. Making our more informal side known is essential if we want to create a solid team that empathises with its members. To this end, many companies organise team activities in contexts outside the company, such as outdoor activities, dinners or trips promoted by the company that provide a space for free interaction without defined guidelines, roles or objectives.
  • Flexible working format: With the advent of the pandemic, many companies have learned to adapt to teleworking or hybrid working. Many workers have found this to be a great advantage, allowing them to reconcile their private and family life with their work life, increasing their motivation for their work and feeling that their emotional well-being is improved. It is essential to understand that everyone is cut from a different cloth. While some people are better organised and motivated by coming to the office every day, others will benefit from a more flexible approach, and so will the company. Offering tailored options for each employee will be a crucial consideration.
  • Mental health care: Another major development has been to adopt a model that was already in place in other European countries and in the United States, and that is to provide employees with the option of having mental health careg through the company. All of us go through periods of greater or lesser difficulty at work but also on a personal level, and these difficulties are very difficult to separate from our performance and motivation at work. The psychological care offered by some companies helps their employees to resolve and learn to manage the difficulties they are going through and to improve their emotional well-being so that their personal and work performance is not affected. In therapyside, we have also noticed the increase in interest from companies in this regard, and now many provide psychological care to their workers through our platform. Similarly, there are already many talents attracted by companies thanks to this type of benefits that, especially the younger generation, are increasingly valued.
  • Sign-on system: loved by many, hated by others. The clocking-in system could have a useful function in detecting people who may be in the situation of absenteeism. We can then try to address their needs and explore what is going on, as it may be a problem shared by colleagues who have other forms of absenteeism such as present absenteeism.

Absenteeism is a problem shared by many companies and more and more of them are focusing on it and looking for different solutions in order not to lose talent, to motivate their employees and to generate a work climate that caters for people's emotional well-being. When we apply different solutions, companies notice that the overall performance increases, the productivity of their employees is higher, and, finally both employee and employer feel at ease with their team and work.

Finding solutions and preventing absenteeism is fundamental for all companies and more and more are joining in to ensure that, both in the short and long term, problems can arise that are difficult to tackle, because when absenteeism is so widespread and the work climate is negative, it becomes a major problem. Preventing and working on it is the best way to avoid such a situation.

If you want to improve the emotional well-being of your employees, we can help you.

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