The tech industry is home to some of the biggest and brightest organisations in the world such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft, just to name a few. Organisations operating within this industry have developed a reputation for being at the forefront of innovation, giving their employees a great place to work through high pay, career progression, and personal opportunities.
From the tech industry’s glamorous image, you would assume it has no issues, right? But there is one area of absence management that tells a different story.
According to data taken from over 250,000 users of the Edays system, technology firms are facing the highest unplanned absence rate of any industry.
Today, we will be exploring why this is the case and what they can do to manage it.
What is an unplanned absence, and why does it matter?
Unplanned absence is one of the three main absence types, referring to any instance of absence where an employee is off work for unforeseen reasons. It often happens due to poor mental or physical health, emergencies, and various other personal circumstances.
Instances of unplanned absence are perfectly fine and healthy for any business, after all, we are all human and do not feel our best from time to time. But some major problems can rise to the surface if it becomes too frequent. Employee productivity, engagement, and experience can all be negatively impacted by frequent instances of unplanned absence, and it is easy to see why.
Imagine, you’re part of a team of software engineers, each responsible for large projects and pushing it across the line. Andrew, one of your colleagues, starts to call in sick on most Mondays. Andrew’s workload then falls onto you and the rest of your team, hindering the progress of your own work. Alternatively, Andrew’s project starts to stall, a lose-lose situation.
Problematic unplanned absences like this can often be the difference between an organisation hitting or missing its goals. Therefore, it is important that you can identify the unplanned absence patterns and trends within your business.
Why is unplanned absence so high in the tech industry?
The high unplanned absence rate currently experienced by tech firms may be the result of various hidden issues within the industry. One of the main problems that could be directly contributing to the high unplanned absence rates is employee burnout. No matter how many employees within the tech industry love their jobs, they will inevitably need a break.
However, it appears many employees are not taking time off due to a ‘silicon valley’ work culture which promotes working long hours. This is evident, as 60% of tech workers feel overworked and burnt out. This feeling of being burnt out can often lead to an increase in tiredness, anxiety, and susceptibility to illness. All of which can lead to high levels of unplanned absence.
Another issue that may be causing these high unplanned absence rates is that many of the organisations in question do not know the reasons why their employees are absent, making it harder to offer ill employees the help they need to get back to work. If Andrew is having every Monday off work, this is a pattern and patterns usually indicate something else is going on, something he might need support with.
How can tech firms reduce unplanned absences?
The solution to the technology industry’s burnout is, quite ironically, through technology. Levels of burnout can often be hard to track, but the easiest way to identify employees who are at risk of burnout is to check how much holiday they have taken. Absence management technology can allow you to do this by increasing your visibility over who has taken holiday or has it booked. This even goes as far as alerting employees who haven’t taken holiday in a while to go on a much-deserved break.
Another way to reduce unplanned absence is to dig further into your absence data. Use absence management technology to identify patterns of unplanned absence within your workforce. Want to see the most common days unplanned absence happens on? Want to see who is taking unplanned absence the most frequently and the reason for it? Absence management technology can enable your tech organisation to do this and more.
Free report: Discover the risks of employee absence on your company & benchmark against your industry leaders.
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.