Employee absenteeism is a challenge for all businesses. When people don’t come to work, it impacts productivity and service delivery. If left unchecked, it can delay projects, undermine customer satisfaction and eat into the bottom line.
Of course, a certain amount of legitimate absence is to be expected. Illness, injury and unforeseen circumstances are a natural part of life. But certain incidences of employee absenteeism—especially repeated absences—may be a symptom of deeper issues.
They could be an indication of workplace dissatisfaction or staff disengagement.
Thankfully, recent research has revealed some remedies for these issues, as well as identifying the causes. At the top of the list of remedies: actively fostering a culture of engagement and wellbeing.
Why culture and wellbeing matter
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s guide for HR directors advises that engaged employees are ‘less likely to be sick’.
By now, you’re probably nodding, recognizing that these results make intuitive sense: a more engaged workforce should be happier about coming to work. However, you may be more surprised to learn that engagement also makes workplaces safer.
So much of this issue comes down to employee wellbeing – it’s intimately intertwined with job satisfaction. It’s a significant factor influencing levels of staff absenteeism.
As it happens, engaging employees is a great way to promote wellbeing. Put simply, an engaging workplace provides better wellbeing for individual employees. Engaged employees feel valued and more positively connected to what they do. As mentioned in the landmark report by MacLeod and Clarke:
Perhaps due to that sense of involvement and enthusiasm, employees who work for engaging organizations tend to have lower levels of stress and a better work life balance. 
A presentation from MacLeod and Clarke’s Engage for Success organization reported that engaged employees are more likely to show enthusiasm, cheerfulness, optimism, contentment, and calm. Conversely, they are less likely to feel miserable, worried, depressed or tense.
Conclusion: More engagement means less absence
A culture of employee engagement nurtures happier and healthier workers.
Organizations that increase the wellbeing of their employees by way of engagement benefit from lower sickness absence—and an increase in organizational performance. This is because happier, healthier workers are less likely to skip work, and they’re sharper when they’re there.