How to Remain Professional and Reduce Absenteeism During the Christmas Season

Image Credit: Seattle Municipal Archives; Santa in Council Chambers; 1977

As the Christmas season draws closer, workload isn’t the only thing that’s sky-high. Research shows that during this time, absenteeism rates dramatically increase due to the fun events and activities that occur during December. Although Christmas should be a happy time of year, many employers struggle to cope with the absenteeism rates. A key way to start December in the right way is by setting rules regarding sickness and unauthorised absences. It’s important to monitor your employees’ attendance throughout the month, whilst keeping an eye out for any patterns of absence.

In order to be proactive on this issue, employers should take steps to try and reduce absenteeism in their workplace. A more positive way to achieve this is by decorating your office for Christmas – whether that’s with a Christmas tree or festive ornaments. Organising a Secret Santa is also a good way to make the office a more pleasant place to be during this season, thus reducing the likelihood of staff absences. Offering flexible working, if your business allows, will most likely work in your favour. Allowing employees to take turns working from home, or in their chosen location, will give them the time they need out of the office to make the most of the festivities. Alternatively, if you’re particularly quiet in the Christmas season, you might consider closing until the New Year. This way, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress – and you’ll have happy employees who will most definitely have more respect for you as an employer.

If your business does not allow you to close over the festive period, you may consider setting a maximum number of days that each employee can take during the month of December. Having a rule put in place, and making your employees aware of it, will mean that there will be no confusions – and people are much less likely to take unauthorised absences if they know they only have a certain amount of days’ leave. Although as an employer, you are not legally obliged to, you may wish to increase your employees’ wages or give them bonuses as an incentive for working over Christmas.

If you think that an employee is taking unauthorised absences, then it’s a good idea to put a procedure in place. Consider conducting interviews with employees upon their return. If they’re taking absences when they shouldn’t be, this will most likely prevent them from repeating this action. If, however, they repeatedly take unauthorised absences with no legitimate reason for doing so, then it will be necessary to take formal action.

If you’re struggling to cope with absenteeism this Christmas, our advisers at Cluer HR will tailor their advice to your business, so that you know how best to deal with your employees. To speak to one of our team, please do get in touch with us via email info@cluerhrsolutions.co.uk or call 01386 751740.