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5 Benefits of an Absence Management System

17 February 2023 10 min read

team using an absence management system

If your organisation is still handling absence and leave with spreadsheets and manual processes, it may be time to consider implementing an absence management system – and we explain why below.

From saving time to boosting wellbeing, better absence management will help your organisation, employees, and HR teams in more ways than you realise.

In this blog we’ve outlined just a few reasons why a simple, configurable system like ours could transform your business.

Let’s take a look at the five biggest benefits of our absence management system:

1. Make Life Easier for Your HR Team

Happy HR Team

Our absence management solution streamlines dozens of everyday HR processes.

For example, how do employees currently request leave in your company? Do they have to email their line managers or HR? There’s your first problem. It can take a while to get a reply to an email, and it’s easy for information to get lost or overlooked in long email chains.

What happens next? Either the manager has to liaise with HR, or HR has to cross-reference the request with a number of spreadsheets and databases. They have to take into account the employee’s holiday allowance, how many days they’ve taken, and how many days they have remaining. Then they have to look at timesheets and staffing levels, to ensure that the employee’s leave won’t cause any problems for any other member of the team.

Only then can the employee’s leave request get signed off. And once this is done, the employee must be notified, which means yet another email.

Any process that involves long chains of emails and multiple spreadsheets and databases is going to be problematic. It’s inefficient, unreliable, and it’s costing you more than you might imagine.

Our absence management system streamlines this process. Any member of staff can securely access edays from any device. They’ll instantly be able to see how many days’ holiday they have left to take, which means no more “how much holiday do I have left” emails. Then they can take their leave request in just a few clicks.

Whoever is responsible for approving their leave request will get an alert, and you can set certain absence triggers. For instance, you can define minimum staffing levels, so the line manager or HR staff will know immediately whether each employee’s leave request will cause any problems for the workload. And once they get this alert, they can approve or deny the leave request in just a few clicks and seconds.

This means the entire leave request process can be completed in a fraction of time it takes to do manually. What used to take hours, now takes minutes or even seconds.

All this time saved can really add up. In fact, we estimate that we save our clients around £489 per employee per year.

2. Improve Employee Wellbeing

improving employee wellbeing

What’s good for HR and management is also good for the rest of the team. If it’s easy for staff to book time off, then employees are more likely to take the time off they need, when they need it.

Why is this important? Because stress and mental health-related work absences continue to be prevalent. Stress, depression or anxiety and musculoskeletal disorders accounted for the majority of days lost due to work-related ill health in 2021/22. And CIPD figures show that stress is one of the biggest causes of unplanned absences in the workplace.

There are many things you can do to manage stress in your workplace. But one of the most effective methods for combating stress is to make it as easy as possible for employees to book time off. If your leave planning system is complex and long-winded, unconsciously or not, some employees may simply decide not to bother. It’ll just be work, work, work; with no breaks, and no time taken for rest, relaxation, and recuperation.

Employees who don’t take breaks are not the most productive of employees. They risk burnout, and their stress levels might reach a crisis point.

Use our absence management system and you’ll remove almost all of the barriers that prevent employees from taking well-earned breaks. Our system makes it easier for employees to get a good work/life balance, which is an instrumental part of any effective employee wellbeing program.

3. Safeguard Your Business

safeguarding your business

Unplanned absence is a major challenge for any company. Whatever size your company, absences can have a big impact on your output and knock-on effect on team members and departments.

Every member of the team will have a huge number of responsibilities. So any day, when you’re not at full capacity, is going to be a struggle. People are going to have to pick up the slack, and something’s got to give – either productivity will suffer, or stress levels will rise. Neither outcome is particularly desirable.

But if you act to keep on top of absences in your company, you’ll already be one up on your competitors. Not all businesses have an absence management policy, but those who do are generally prepared for every eventuality.

So, where your competitors will struggle to cope with unplanned absences, with an absence management solution you can safeguard your company. You can ensure that nobody gets overworked, and everything can remain as productive as possible even when you’re not operating at full capacity.

4. Reduce Absenteeism

absence wellbeing

There are a few ways that an absence management solution can help you to reduce absenteeism in your business. Let’s look at one of the more direct ways.

Unauthorised absence is the most disruptive form of absenteeism. This is where an employee frequently takes time off without giving their manager or HR any or enough advance warning, and not because they’re suffering from ill-health or injuries.

It’s unexpected and sporadic, so it creates all the same problems that other forms of absence cause. But unauthorised absences also suggest that there may be something more serious going on.

But if employees know that you’re monitoring and reporting on every incidence of absence, they may think twice about neglecting to call in sick or providing reasonable notice that they’re going to be absent if they’re unwell.

Of course, there are other reasons why absenteeism might develop in your organisation. It might be that employees are stressed and overworked, and they simply need a break. But even in this case, if you’ve got an absence management system, any member of your team can book the time off they need with ease. They get a well-earned break, and you don’t have to worry about any disruption to your operations.

Learn how our software can help to reduce unauthorised absences in your business.

5. Understand Your Absence Trends

people data dashboard

This isn’t the only way our absence management solution can help to reduce absenteeism in your company. As well as acting as a deterrent against unauthorised absences, our system can also help you to reduce unplanned absences caused by illness and injury.

Our system features a detailed yet accessible reports dashboard. You can get insights into sickness rates, the cost of absence, Bradford Factor scores, and more. For visually-compelling, pre-built and easy-to-use reporting dashboards, take a look at People Insights to get even more out of your people data.

If you take the time to understand the absence trends in your company, certain patterns will become apparent. And once you start to spot patterns, you might start to think of the sort of changes you could make to make absences less likely in the future.

Here’s an example of how this might work: We recently analysed the data of more than 500 UK companies that use our absence management system. One of our key findings was that November is the single worst month of the year for unplanned absences in the UK.

Can you think of any reasons why November might be particularly bad for absences? We can think of a few: The days are short, and the temperatures are low. End-of-year deadlines are fast approaching, and so too is the holiday period, which is a source of tremendous stress and financial pressure for many of us.

So let’s say you looked at your absence data and found that November was a bad month for sickness absence. It’s easy to imagine the sort of changes you could make to help your team when they need it most.

Perhaps you could see if there’s any room in your budget to offer staff bonuses, which could help alleviate some of the financial strain of the holiday period. Or you could think about introducing a flexible working policy, making it possible for your team to work from home rather than facing a long commute on those cold, dark winter mornings. You could even look at your staffing levels and investigate how workloads are divided. Things might be a little uneven, which would explain why so many people feel pressured as the end of the year draws near.

This is just an example. Investigating your absence trends might reveal something completely different. But the point is, the more you can understand your absence trends, the more power you’ll have to act to reduce absenteeism in the future.

Learn more about how our absence management system can help to reduce staff sickness in your company.


What is absence management?

Absence management is an employer’s approach — via policies, procedures, culture or programs — to reduce employee absenteeism, manage absence, avoid workforce disruption and maximise employee productivity, whilst supporting their well-being and mental health.

How do you manage absence effectively?

  1. Incentivise attendance.
  2. Use absence management software to understand trends.
  3. Make your absence and leave policies CLEAR.
  4. Use return-to-work interviews.
  5. Create a positive workplace culture.
  6. Allow flexible working.

Why is it important to manage absenteeism?

When an employee is absent, other workers need to pick up the slack for this absent worker. Putting in this extra effort likely results in a dip in productivity and efficiency. Employee engagement reduces and burnout can happen. Good absence management can prevent all these and also minimise the financial implications of employees missing work too.

How do you measure absence?

Measuring absenteeism is easy: take the number of unexcused absences in a given period of time, divide it by the total period, and multiply the result by 100 to get the percentage of absenteeism over a month, a year, and so on.

Still not convinced? See edays in action today

edays absence management system

In this post, we’ve only really scratched the surface. Our absence management software is so loaded with game-changing features that you’ll probably still be discovering new benefits after months of use.

Any business can use our system to streamline its processes, save time and money, and make life easier for everyone. Head here to explore all of the features we offer in greater depth.

Katrina Bennett People Director at edays
February 17, 2023

Katrina is edays' own People Director with significant UK and international experience in delivering people strategy and value-adding HR solutions across a range of organisations and sectors (including Arriva, Boots, Rolls Royce, the utility and charity sectors). Katrina has over 20 years of experience in Human Resources and is CIPD qualified.