High Unplanned Workplace Absences Connected to Workplace Insecurity Has Taking Time Off

first_img Tumblr LinkedIn Twitter on February 12, 2015 E-Headlines Facebook Share. High Unplanned Workplace Absences Connected to Workplace Insecurity Has Taking Time Off Become a Signal That Employees Aren’t Committed? center_img Google+ 0 Pinterest (Photo above: Jim Morris)U.S. workers are taking more unplanned time off now than ever before according to a new survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Managers (SHRM). The phenomenon is tied to large-scale job insecurity and the fact that “many workers don’t feel they can use all their vacation time where there’s no federally mandated paid sick leave” according to Evren Esen, director of survey programs for SHRM.”There should not be a stigma for taking your vacation, but it’s evolved into that,” Esen said. The problem is not specific to the U.S., but it is more pronounced – further evidence that the 2008 recession was a cause for unplanned time off. The data showed that unplanned absences affect 48 percent of US respondents compared with 36 percent in Europe and 31 percent in Australia.What’s going on?With fresh memories of the 2008 recession and stories of massive RIF’s in even some of the largest corporations in America, many American workers feel less secure about work today than they have in the past. One safeguard is to manage the perception of not being “all-in” as a loyal company employee by not taking too much time off. Better to peck away at one’s day’s off with occasional unplanned days than to appear uncommitted by taking two or three weeks off. This type of distrust and insecurity hurts on a number of levels.First is the financial impact – according to the survey, organizations and businesses are spending 22 percent of total the payroll expense on vacations, sick days and unplanned absences. Think about that for a second, 22 percent of the total US payroll is not a small number.Next and more subtle, reclining morale and productivity – when people take unplanned time off, morale goes down and as morale declines, so does productivity.Finally, there are the issues of retention and flight risk – employees who have to game the system to get the time off they are entitled to are on the look-out for jobs where employers are more concerned about what they accomplish than how or where they work.Workers are more willing than ever to put-in the time to accomplish tasks and jobs and make their companies successful, but they are less willing to comply with unnecessary rules about attendance and political score keeping that does little other than distract from value added activity and make them feel insecure.Culture – including Corporate Culture – is the traditions, beliefs, assumptions, values and behaviors people form and hold to be true. Culture forms as a response to a previous context. Today’s American work culture is shifting even in response to the 2008 recession. One such shift is the lack of surety or confidence people have about their jobs. Many American’s aren’t as committed as they once were to work, not because they are not willing to work hard but because they aren’t sure how committed work is to them.One idea some companies are quietly experimenting with is to not limit time off at all but to trust employees to balance their own time off needs with accomplishment of work goals. This sort of arrangement requires very accountable employees and skilled managers who can help set clear work objectives for high performing employees and then track their progress. In most cases, these sorts of plans are actually working. Vacation and days off are left to the discretion of the employee and their manager and are based on the ability of the employee to effectively meet work objectives.Research shows over and over again that more work does not always produce more results. In fact it produces less if one works too hard.Workers today are willing to work hard. In fact, Gen X’ers (those between the ages of 34 and 48) turn-out to be one of the hardest working generations since world war II.Like the Boomers before them, they saw how hard their parents worked and followed the model. Millennials (those between the ages of 22 and 33) on the other hand have seen how hard their parents worked and have chosen a different, some would say more balanced approach; they demand better work/life balance and frequently choose a job with better time off benefits than one that pays better. They take the time they have earned off without shame or guilt, and without feeling the need to hide it.Jim Morris, principal of Moementum, Inc. and author of The Five Insights of Enduring [email protected] By Jim Morris of Moementum Inc Emaillast_img

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