Over Engagement: The Danger of Leaveism
Absence management crucial in combating new threat.
A new danger has arisen in the field of Employee Engagement, in the form of leaveism. This occurs when employees take holiday instead of sick leave when they are ill, and use annual leave to complete work at home that can’t be finished during normal work hours.
A recent study of police officers shows that 76% of those polled are guilty of this practice. This can lead to burn-out where the proper steps are not taken to ensure that a work-life balance is maintained, and is particularly endemic now that cuts are being made across various organisations. If a saturation point is reached, it’s likely to bring with it an increase in sickness absence, causing disruption and increased costs for companies.
Professor Sir Cary Cooper of Manchester Business School, co-author of the paper, says “People who don’t take their full holiday entitlement to get away from work is a real problem. It’s not healthy. For overworked staff too frightened to admit they can’t cope, access to work anytime, anywhere via smartphones and laptops might seem like an answer. By working on mobile devices, people can easily conceal that they are enduring long hours. But with UK workers regularly putting in 40- to 50-hour weeks, in addition to lengthy commuting times, doing extra work when you should be recuperating or relaxing is unsustainable”.
Although it’s important for an organisation to engage employees to encourage their productivity, these efforts mustn’t push conscientiousness over into stress and overwork. Staff engagement without proper monitoring can be a false economy; staff who overstretch themselves often have impaired performance, even aside from absence issues mentioned above. It’s important that engagement efforts are channelled towards working smarter rather than working harder.
Bodet offer Absence Management Software as part of their Time & Attendance Solutions which allows you to monitor employee attendance levels in real time and receive alerts when pre-defined thresholds are breached. It can also calculate the Bradford Factor, a KPI for attendance levels. This can help identify absence patterns and aid in the early recognition of causes, such as stress, before they become serious.
For more information about Absence Management, or any of our other Time & Attendance Software Modules, please contact us.