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Football fever is a real sickness

The UEFA Euro 2016 championship highlights the impact absence can have on the UK’s productivity and re-enforces the role shift pattern planning and effective workforce management has in reducing it. 

It’s estimated that football fans taking unauthorised leave to watch the tussle between England and Wales could cost the UK economy over £200 million. [Link to MEN piece]

Whilst the mid-afternoon kick-off time creates an extreme example, many organisations that employ shift workers outside traditional office hours will also have to consider the impact evening matches may have on employee absence levels.

Symptoms & causes:

‘Pulling sickies’, for whatever reason, can lead to significant delays in project delivery, loss in sales revenue, reduced levels of service quality and can have a wider corrosive effect on employee motivation.

Non-attendance also has a direct impact on efficiency, both through the increased administrative burden and the cost of the overtime or temporary labour needed to provide cover. 

In our experience, a common trait of many organisations which suffer from high levels of short-term absence is a lack of flexibility. 

While morally questionable, some employees see ‘sickies’ as a method of securing time off at short notice (particularly for family commitments) when there is no mechanism in place to support flexible cover. 

Preventative treatment:

Software can play a central role in tackling the root causes and impact of absence, whether legitimate or otherwise. 

If an organisation implements a powerful workforce planning and management system, it will find it easier to flex and accommodate changes to employee shifts for whatever reason.

Using shift pattern design and roster management software, organisations can create effective and flexible working schedules that make provision for unexpected variations and staff requests whilst ensuring that demand is always covered. 

Employees can also use the software to efficiently request holidays and swap shifts which significantly reduces administration and ensures all employee requests are treated fairly.

When an organisation has complete clarity and control over the recording, storing and management of working time information it can confidently cater for individual circumstances and provide the flexibility that many employees crave.

Shifting emphasis to health & work-life balance:

When considering workplace absence, it’s important that organisations examine any underlying causes. 

One of the most common reasons for unscheduled time off is due to illness created by stress and overworking. 

Organisations need to look at the shift patterns they use and identify whether they may be exacerbating mental and physical fatigue or other health conditions associated with shift working.

Software increases visibility over potential pressure points and provides the tools to mitigate risk through pattern design and effective planning and management tools.

Finally, an underlying absence problem may also be linked to low morale created by a poor work-life balance.

Shift patterns and rosters can be designed that create predictable working hours, more useable leisure time and have the flexibility needed to suit diverse life stages or lifestyles.

We’ve worked with many organisations where eliminating last minute goodwill-reliant overtime requests and creating fairer holiday allocations has seen absence rates drop dramatically...even when...there’s football on. 

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