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Does Flexible Working Reduce Absenteeism?

Published: February 3, 2016

It must be very good to be Swedish.

The country certainly does a lot of things right. For example, they’ve been named the best place to grow old (Global Age Watch Index 2013), they have the best paternity leave in the world (mothers and fathers receive a generous 16 months for each child) and they have the best health care (according to OECD). In case that wasn’t enough, they’ve also given the world Ikea, The Nobel Peace Prize, Absolut Vodka and Volvo too. Tack Sweden! (Thanks Sweden!)

So in terms of cutting-edge human resources trends, it stands to reason that we have a lot to learn from the Swedes.

New reports suggest many Swedish businesses are moving towards more flexible work options for their employees, including shorter working days. There is a trend towards allowing workers to spend more time at home and doing the activities they enjoy under the belief that they will be more focused and productive during the time they are at their jobs.

A separate study from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute points out that while poor health causes employee absence, being ill does not have to result in employees being absent from work. It suggests that more flexible working options could mean less sick leave, and less absenteeism if illness is managed in a way that is better for employers and employees.

The inference here is that helping employees achieve a balance between their work, family and personal commitments by introducing work-life balance policies can help reduce absenteeism. On top of that, employees love flexible work arrangements, and employers benefit from higher morale, lower absenteeism, and being able to attract better quality workers.

For advice on better managing some of the workforce management topics discussed in this blog, including flexible work, absenteeism and parental leave, contact Mitrefinch today.

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