In the age of the Great Resignation, company strategies for retaining employees and reducing absenteeism are more important than ever. One such strategy is adopting a more flexible approach to work for employees.

But does flexible working reduce absenteeism among employees and improve retention? In this blog post, we’ll go over the benefits of flexible working and how this work arrangement reduces absenteeism in the workplace.


Quick Answer: Yes, flexible working reduces absenteeism in the workplace by improving satisfaction, reducing stress, and offering a better work-life balance for employees. As a result, employee retention and company performance improve.


How Does Flexible Working Reduce Absenteeism?

In a nutshell, flexible working reduces absenteeism by providing employees with more control over their work-life balance, allowing them to better manage personal responsibilities and reduce stress. This, in turn, leads to improved morale, higher job satisfaction, and ultimately, fewer missed workdays.

Among the myriad benefits that flex work brings, improving employees’ presence in the office is definitely up there. There are various reasons why hybrid work helps companies reduce absenteeism and keep employees stay engaged.

It all comes down to an employee’s ability to call the shots while maintaining a sense of responsibility and even loyalty to their employers. A Skynova survey of 1,000 U.S. employees found that:

  • 27% of workers feel they’ll be perceived as being “lazy” if they take time off — even if they need it
  • 62% say they’ve worked through physical illness
  • More than 3 out of 10 respondents admit taking an unofficial sick day — which is a sick day where they don’t tell their boss while still working at home.

This last response is especially interesting in the context of hybrid work. What if employees felt less stressed, burnt out, or pressured to show up in-office when they weren’t feeling well? It’s clear from Skynova’s results that workers feel pressured to work instead of taking PTO or a few hours off when they need it.

a mug and glasses

But having an arrangement where they can work partially in-office and off-site could mean alleviating the pressure of taking that “unofficial” sick day or feeling as though they’ll be labeled as “lazy.”

The state of mental health PTO is even worse: a Breeze survey shows that 63% of workers took time off for mental health purposes but felt guilty and compelled to lie about it.

Yikes!

With numbers and realities like these, it’s easy to see why maintaining a balance between on-site and off-site employee presence — through a hybrid work model — leads to better employee retention and work-life balance.

At its essence, hybrid work’s flexible format reduces employee stress, which can impact the overall number of sick days employees take.

flexible working

The freedom that comes with flexible work hours and more control over one’s own schedule creates a healthier, more productive workforce. We’ll discuss each of the mitigators to employee absenteeism in more detail below.

It Helps Retain More Employees and Improves Their Job Satisfaction

Replacing employees in the office can get expensive. According to research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it can cost 50–60% of an employee’s salary to replace them.

Thankfully, flexible work options are a good way to keep employees motivated in the workplace — and, ultimately, retain them. This type of work allows employees to work on their own terms and gives them more time for the things that matter most to them.

Curious about how to face hybrid work challenges head-on and pivot your workplace to the hybrid model? Using the right hybrid work management software is the answer. Watch the video below:

A more flexible setup is a very powerful motivator among workers: for 40% of job applicants worldwide, flexibility is one of the top factors they consider when looking for a job.

Furthermore, according to research by Flexjob, 80% of employees say they’d be more loyal to an employer if remote work was an option. And research by Gallup shows that 54% of employees prefer a hybrid arrangement over other options. The stats are clear.

It Leads to a Better Work-life Balance

The modern employee greatly values work-life balance. In fact, in their 2022 Career Pulse Survey, Flexjobs found that work-life balance was more important than pay for 63% of employees.

Flexible work improves employees’ work-life balance since they have full control over their schedules. As such, they have more time for activities outside of work, such as taking care of their children or hobbies.

This means hybrid employees don’t feel like they need to sacrifice their personal life for work — and their happiness improves as a result. And that helps reduce absenteeism.

It Helps Reduce Employee Stress

Burnout is a common problem in workplaces worldwide. Research from Deloitte shows that 77% of employees have experienced some form of burnout at their jobs. Research from the American Institute of Stress also shows that over one million workers are absent each day due to stress.

tired employee

A hybrid work model reduces absenteeism by lessening employee stress during their workdays. According to research by Cisco, 55% of employees report that hybrid working has reduced their stress levels, and another 55% believe that hybrid working is more relaxing and helps them feel less pressure.

A workplace with better mental health and less stress among employees reduces absenteeism.

It Reduces the Number of Sick Days Employees Take

Sick days can dramatically affect your company’s productivity. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health problems cost U.S. businesses $225.8 billion each year — or $1,685 per employee.

does hybrid work reduce employee absenteeism

In a traditional office, an employee who feels ill will typically call in sick and stay home. That results in a lost day of productivity in the workplace and hurts the company’s performance.

With a flexible work arrangement, however, the employee can choose to stay home for a couple of hours — and maybe even do some work while doing so — and then return to the office when they feel better.

“When employees take time off and truly disconnect from work, they can regain motivation and loyalty ― and the business can reduce turnover.” — Rebecca Neubauer, “Most Employees Don’t Use Their PTO: Why That’s Bad and How to Change It”, Business News Daily

Improve Employee Retention And Engagement With OfficeRnD Hybrid

When it comes to the question of whether or not flexible working reduces absenteeism, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Hybrid work’s built-in flexibility gives employees the freedom they want to exercise over their schedule, balancing their work and home lives according to their needs. Scheduling their own work days allows them to call the shots on their priorities and their well-being.

This means flexibility helps your company increase its employee retention, the result of which is less employee turnover. And these benefits trickle down and translate into reduced hiring and onboarding costs simply to recruit new talent for your company.

Software such as OfficeRnd Hybrid helps reduce absenteeism in a hybrid work environment by successfully enabling and managing the hybrid work model. Enable cohesive team communication, collaboration, and meeting scheduling for on-site and off-site employees without missing a beat.

Start for free with OfficeRnd Hybrid or book a live demo with one of our workplace experts and see how it can immensely benefit your workplace.

FAQ

What Are the Different Flexible Work Arrangements That Exist?

The most common types of flexible work arrangements are hybrid work, remote work, telecommuting, and job sharing.

What Are the Benefits of Flexible Work Arrangements?

The main benefits of flexible working arrangements for employees are more freedom over how they’d like to work and a better work-life balance. For employers, that results in reduced office footprint and increased revenue thanks to the boost in employee productivity, collaboration, and engagement.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Flexible Working?

The main disadvantages that come with this work environment are a possible lack of bonding between team members and difficulties tracking employee performance.

How Does Flexibility Reduce Absenteeism?

Flexible work reduces absenteeism by offering employees a better work-life balance and reducing their workplace stress — improving their satisfaction as a result.

How Do You Reduce Absenteeism in the Workplace?

You can reduce absenteeism in the workplace by offering your employees flexible work arrangements, prioritizing their mental health, and discussing with them the reasons behind their absences.

Do Flexible Work Practices Reduce Employee Turnover?

Yes. Research by Gallup shows that flexible working is the ideal work model for 54% of employees. Another study by Flexjobs showed that 80% of employees would be more loyal to an employer who offers flexible work options than one who doesn’t.

What Will Decrease the Chances of Employee Absenteeism?

Investing in your employees’ mental and physical well-being and communicating with them about the reasons for their absences are the best ways to reduce employee absenteeism.

Asen Stoyanchev
Senior Content Marketing & SEO Specialist | OfficeRnD
Asen is passionate about flexible working and the future of work. He firmly believes that work flexibility directly impacts one's health and well-being. When he's not writing, Asen spends his time devouring business literature, hiking, and parenting.