Small Business Brief


Empty Office? 10 Reasons Why Your Employees Are Absent From Work

Employees being absent from work can kill your business.

Between the money spent on paid sick leave, finding someone else to cover their shift or the delay in production due to their disappearance, your company and the other employees are one step closer to fiscal death because of it. 

There are many ways to mitigate employee absence. And save your business thousands of dollars a year while you do it.

In order to do this, you must keep a close eye on all your employees and recognize their patterns of behavior. 

If this problem isn’t taken care of in its infancy, you could hemorrhage money until you have no business left at all.

This is why it’s important to keep your fingers on the pulse of your employee’s work lives. If you don’t, neither of you will have a place to call out from. 

By reading this guide, you’ll be able to push the number of absent employees as close to zero as possible.

Once you’ve ensured that employees are coming as often as possible, you’ll be free to consider other ways to make your company more efficient. 


Bullying can and does happen between adults. Some of your employees may exclude others from recreational activities. Or in the worst case, someone is being sexually harassed.

In these situations, people will avoid coming to work if they fear being harassed by other employees.

In any case, it is your job to find out what is going on and put an end to it as soon as possible. You might not be able to mend fences between employees, but it is important that everyone recognizes their value to the company as a whole.

Some people may need to be separated from each other, and others may need to be fired if they are a consistent problem.

Low Morale  

Nobody wants to show up to a workplace with no personality. People need a break from the daily grind of doing the same thing over and over again before they can no longer cope mentally.

If a worker is consistently uninterested by their work, they might seek excitement playing hooky.

This is the reason for events like casual Fridays or raffles. Many employees have come in just to see what others will wear or do. The important thing is to allow breaks for something outside of the daily droll but to make sure that employees are productive and amiable while they work.


Illnesses account for millions of lost days of work per year. If your employees have frequent illnesses it will benefit you to find out what they are and how to work with them so their illness doesn’t stop them from working.

The most important thing to find out is whether they can work from home some days. By working from home, they continue to be productive.

If you suspect they might have an addiction, it is important that you work with them to resolve that issue, as turning them into the prison system has become a morally questionable position.


With divorce rates going up, more people are becoming single parents. As such, the days of having one person at home to take care of the children are waning. 

Many people are now calling out sick from work because they have nobody who can take care of their children while they’re at work.

If this is a constant problem for your business, you can always look into on-site daycare if the nature of your employee’s work allows it.

If not, you can always work with your employees to make sure they can come in earlier and leave later to take care of their children, preventing workplace absence.


Unfortunately, some 38% of people admitted to calling in sick when they simply didn’t want to come into work.

This has plagued business owners since time immemorial, and there is often no other choice but to fire employees who are simply too lazy to come into work every day.

As an alternative, some people can be demoted to part-time and/or temp work until they can prove they have the drive to come in.

That way you can still have some of their labor without having to through the rigmarole of finding someone to replace them.

Legal Trouble

Legal battles are famous for draining time and effort from all parties involved. This is among the more complicated reasons to miss work, and it can drag on for a while.

Unfortunately, many people miss working for drug-related reasons, which can prevent them from being near certain clients for bad publicity.

In this case, it would be best to help find a law firm for your employees so they can be done with this process as quickly as possible.

If they do end up going to jail, you might end up having to replace them, and suffer from nobody doing their work in the meantime. 

Family Emergencies

Family emergencies are one of the most common excuses for absence. Family emergencies are also very vague and employees may be secretive about exactly what is going on when they say they are dealing with one.

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as them lying about it, as some family emergencies can go on for weeks or even months at a time.

If your employee is having a protracted family emergency, it is worthwhile to work with them and make sure that they take the time off that they need.

Or, if they need to be with their family, you can talk to them about whether or not they can work from afar.


One of the few good reasons to miss work is being overworked. Employees who are overworked have probably been putting in extra hours for several weeks or months.

Although this can seem like a boon at first, every person has their limits. And the overworked employee can stop dead in their tracks because their body just gives out.

This is one of the most difficult things to deal with, as these employees will need to be sent home on time with everyone else to prevent this from happening.

If they are working overtime to avoid some problems at home, they might need to be referred to family counseling.

Psychiatric Crisis

Several million people in the world suffer from depression, and this number is only increasing.

An employee with chronic psychiatric illness may display a lack of enthusiasm, overt displays of sadness, and taking many “mental health days”.

If you recognize this in any of your employees, recommend they seek psychiatric help immediately. This is best for their own safety and well-being. Also, someone committing suicide during the workday can traumatize you and the other employees.

Not to mention having to deal with the police and paramedics will take time away from the workday. Even if they died somewhere else, the police will come to their place of work for clues about where they might be.

The Worst Workplace Absence: Injury

Workplace injuries account for millions of days off every year. To avoid having your employees falling victim, it helps to have more precautions around the workplace than are mandated by the government.

Using your experience in the field, you can help prevent workplace accidents before they happen. Depending on the environment, workplace injury might also lead to death.

Talk to your employees thoroughly about why it’s important that they follow protocol, and make sure that everyone wears protective gear and that there aren’t any slippery surfaces on which to fall.

Your Employees Need to Work

Once your employees are at work as much as possible, your job becomes a lot easier. You won’t have to think about changing the attendance policy or constantly changing your hiring standards.

The only key is that you will definitely have to pay very close attention to your employees, their lives, and the reasons they give for being absent from work.

Although this will seem tedious at first, knowing the ins and outs of employees behavioral patterns will become as simple as breathing.

Furthermore, most people fall into predictable archetypes. Even if the specific people at the office change, most people within an industry have similar backstories.

With time, you’ll be able to set your watch to why some people are not showing up.

As their employer, you’ll also be able to manipulate the circumstances of their work in ways that mitigate any rational reasons your employees have for not showing up.

Sometimes solving your employees’ problems for them costs you money.

However, it is much better to spend money making sure they come into work than it is to constantly lose money with their absence and constantly searching for someone else to do their job. 

If you or an employee are embroiled in a legal battle, consider contacting a good lawyer for a consultation.