How to Improve Attendance in the Workplace

A happy employee is often a present employee.

A happy employee is often a present employee.

Liking where you work makes it a whole lot easier to get up in the morning, right? So, it stands to reason that people call in sick when they’re not sick at all. Stress and just needing a day off often top the list of reasons why employees take a day away. But stress and feeling overworked aren't always the results of how an employee chooses to manage her day. Sometimes, the work environment can contribute to these feelings.

Encourage managers to build better relationships with their direct reports. Urge them to continually recognize achievements and contributions of staff, helping boost team morale and lessen the frequency of absenteeism.

Schedule regular teambuilding sessions to strengthen relationships not only between management and staff but also between colleagues. Take a team or two to a community outreach program some afternoon rather than working. Set aside some time for recreational activities, or even enlist a teambuilding expert to come in and work with your employees for the day.

Reach out to employees and enlist their help for how to improve morale — and, in turn, attendance. If you don’t already have a safe and open work environment, a survey may come in handy for this. Ask for feedback on hours worked, compensation, management, time off and other intangibles that could be affecting morale and attendance.

Offer rewards for attendance — not to mention other achievements and accomplishments, which should also be rewarded. A year-end bonus could improve the overall mood of your team, but other perks could also prove beneficial. An extra day off, extended lunches or even lunch on the company can go a long way to show your appreciation.

Consider instituting flexible scheduling, allowing employees to set their own hours within the limits of their department. Letting employees come in an hour earlier or later each day gives greater flexibility to staff, improving morale at the same time as preventing tardiness and absenteeism.


  • Establish an attendance policy. Define what’s considered both acceptable and unacceptable attendance, as well as the appropriate procedures for notification of absences. Detail the importance of attendance in productivity, morale and work environment within the policy.
  • Take feedback seriously. Employees know when you’re just paying them lip service, so make sure you plan on doing something with the information you’re gathering. If time off is an issue, a floating holiday may give the team the boost it needs. If money is getting employees down, take another look at your compensation structure, and make adjustments where necessary.

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About the Author

Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.

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