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5 reasons not to manage absence with spreadsheets & paper records

15 July 2019 3 min read

Women using a laptop on a wooden table

Many growing companies begin to see staff absence become a complex process to manage, with printed holiday request forms and complicated spreadsheets becoming the norm.

Although basic tools can help to a degree when managing staff absence, these methods are not efficient and there will be a point where administration of holiday forms and sickness tracking will be too much to handle, especially around busier times of the year. Valuable time and resources will be used to manage staff absence when it would be much more beneficial used elsewhere within the business.

Here are some of the top reasons why the switch from paper and spreadsheet to automated software is a smart move for your business:

1. Your spreadsheet & paper process is more complex than you think

Tracking employee holidays and absences involves several different factors including; requesting and approving absences, calculating holiday entitlements, recording instances of sickness, and validating absences, etc. This is all extremely difficult to manage when using spreadsheets, whereas this task takes just a matter of seconds when using an automated absence management platform. With the average level of employee absence at 6.3 days per year (CIPD 2016), those forms can soon stack up within larger organizations.

2. Save your company time and money

Sickness absence alone costs organisations as much as £522 per employee per year (CIPD, 2016). An absence management system can significantly help reduce these costs through increased efficiency. With a specialist system in place, it’s estimated that employees can save as much as 4.5 hours each year, with time savings for HR staff considerably higher. Absence tends to be more disruptive and noticeable in smaller organizations, therefore increased efficiency can ensure that your company is always running at its most productive.

3. Help reduce future absence

Spreadsheets don’t provide high-level reports which can help resolve issues with absenteeism in your organization. Using a specialist absence management system will allow early intervention measures to be put in place to reduce staff absences, you can also track sick leave and report staff sickness quickly and securely online, and pinpoint any areas that may be causing issues within the business. These measures can help your organization reduce unnecessary time off by up to 20%.

4. Self-service holiday and sickness requests

With an absence management system, you let your staff take control of their holiday requests. With private logins, users can log in and view absence records and book holiday leave anytime on any device. Staff can see if any other employees are off at the same time and managers can set minimum staff levels to ensure your organization is not left short, this is especially essential around busier times of the year. Managers can also view each employee’s Bradford Factor score, this highlights any absence issues amongst staff and helps to manage absenteeism in the workplace.

5. System integration

Edays are available to be integrated into HRIS, time and attendance software, and ERP & payroll, such as Sap, Oracle, and PeopleSoft. Edays shared calendars can also be synchronized into popular systems such as Outlook and Gmail using an iCal feed which means managers can get a quick overview of staff holidays in seconds.


With less paper and spreadsheets, you can make time for the things you enjoy. Book a demo to see for yourself.

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Katrina Bennett People Director at edays
July 15, 2019

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.