Staff absence; it’s not just a numbers game


Measuring staff absence and the costs associated with it can be a problem for many businesses, especially those employing field-based staff working shifts and inconsistent hours.

According to the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) 2014 Absence Management Survey Report, UK employees had an average of 6.6 days off work per year in 2014. More than 75% of organisations surveyed record and monitor employee absenteeism.

Monitoring staff absence is critical in identifying patterns, business costs and enabling strategies to be developed to improve employee absentee rates.

What is the best way to measure absence?

The true cost of absenteeism can be difficult to measure. It can include financial elements, such as lost hours, overtime costs, paying temporary staff or lost business.  It can also include less tangible elements such as reduced levels of customer satisfaction.

The two most common ways of measuring non-attendance are:

  • The ‘lost time rate’, which shows the percentage of the total time available which has been lost because of absence
  • The ‘Bradford Index’ which highlights repeated short-term absence by giving extra weight to the number of absences.

However, measuring staff non-attendance can be particularly problematic for employers managing remote workforces. Inconsistent hours and different shift patterns often lead to difficulty in reporting a clear picture of staff absenteeism.

Logistical problems of covering shifts in short time-frames and communicating frequent roster changes to a remote workforce also present challenges.

How do you measure absence?

Webroster understand the difficulties faced by measuring nonattendance with a field based workforce and we are investigating ways to improve this using

We know that measuring staff absence is only half the story; once the data has been gathered it can form a vital part in establishing a picture of your workforce and identifying patterns of absenteeism. This information can then be used to address any issues and form absence management strategies.

We would like to hear how you measure absence in your organisation, so please take a few moments to complete our survey.

About Author: Webroster Ltd

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