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How to reduce absenteeism in the HORECA sector

How to reduce absenteeism in Spain

If you manage a team, you've probably wondered how to reduce absenteeism and improve the productivity of your operation.

Absenteeism in the HORECA (Hotel, Restaurant and Catering) sector is a challenge that affects many establishments. In this sector, it is possible to identify several common reasons that contribute to this problem. Among them: high demand and work pressure, stress and emotional burden related to dealing with customers, lack of recognition and growth opportunities, as well as irregular schedules and difficulty in reconciling work and personal life.

In this article, we're going to give you effective strategies to reduce absenteeism and address the challenges involved. You will discover effective techniques and practical tips to encourage attendance and engagement of your frontline workers. Take note and stay tuned!

What is absenteeism?

Work absenteeism is the absence or abandonment of the workplace and the tasks related to it. In other words, it refers to the non-compliance with the conditions established in the employment contract and involves the loss of thousands of euros each year for companies in the HORECA sector as well as in others.

Main reasons for work absenteeism in the HORECA sector

The main reasons for absenteeism in the HORECA sector are as follows:

  • Sickness: Sickness is one of the main causes of absenteeism not only for the HORECA sector, but for all sectors in general. When a worker is sick, he/she may have difficulties to attend work and perform his/her usual tasks.
  • High demand and work pressure: The fast pace and large number of tasks that workers in the HORECA sector must perform can lead to a feeling of overwhelm. For example, in a restaurant with a large number of diners, workers may feel overwhelmed by the need to serve multiple customers simultaneously, which can result in high stress levels and an increased risk of absenteeism.
  • Irregular schedules and difficulty in reconciling work and personal life: In the HORECA sector, schedules tend to be variable and can include night shifts, weekends and holidays. This can make it difficult to reconcile work and personal life, especially for those with family responsibilities. For example, a waiter with children may find it difficult to balance work and family time.
  • Stress and emotional burden associated with dealing with customers: Direct contact with customers can be rewarding, but it can also generate emotionally challenging situations. For example, a receptionist may encounter dissatisfied customers or unmanageable conflicts, which can generate stress and affect motivation to come to work.
  • Lack of recognition and growth opportunities: Lack of recognition from employers and a shortage of opportunities for professional growth can demotivate workers, leading them to miss work. For example, a cook who is not recognized for his or her efforts and has no prospects for growth in his or her position may lose motivation to attend regularly.

Types of absenteeism

  • Justified absenteeism: In this type of absenteeism, the employee gives notice of his absence for reasons that prevent him from reporting to work or fulfilling his obligations for a period of time if he is teleworking. An example of this would be a move or a visit to the doctor, as these are events that may occur during normal working hours.
  • Absenteeism: This type of absenteeism occurs when the employee is physically at his or her workstation at the hotel, but is not performing any of his or her duties. Normally, in this type of absenteeism the employee wastes time on other tasks or on no specific task instead of moving forward with more specific tasks. This is also known as presenteeism. Presenteeism is when the employee is at work but is not being productive. The causes are usually lack of motivation, stress, work overload, lack of effective communication or imbalance in the assignment of tasks.
  • Emotional absenteeism: The emotional presence of the employee is also a very important factor to take into account in absenteeism. This type of absenteeism occurs when the worker performs his tasks, but mentally and emotionally he is somewhere else. It usually occurs when the worker does not feel identified with the company, is not motivated with the tasks to be performed or experiences some kind of physical discomfort.

How to reduce absenteeism with 5 strategies

Reducing absenteeism in the HORECA sector can be a challenge. However, there are some practices that will help you avoid it. Here are 5 strategies to reduce absenteeism in your operation:

1. Offers alternatives for reconciliation

It is important for HORECA operations to offer flexible options that allow workers to reconcile their personal and professional lives.

Example: In a restaurant, a flexible scheduling system can be implemented where employees with young children can coordinate their work day so that they can take their children to and pick them up from school without compromising their work responsibilities. This will not only help reduce absenteeism, but also create a more positive and motivating work environment.

2. Incorporate flexible schedules or teleworking.

Flexible working hours and the possibility of working remotely are measures that can help reduce absenteeism in the HORECA sector. This allows employees to organize their time more efficiently, especially those who have family responsibilities or care for dependents.

Example: A hotel can implement a remote work program for its reception team. Allowing workers to organize their working day according to their personal needs, avoiding unnecessary commuting and improving their quality of life.

3. Offer a competent and emotional salary

In addition to the economic salary, it is important to provide employees in the HORECA sector with an emotional salary that recognizes and rewards their work. These non-monetary benefits can improve job satisfaction and increase commitment to the company. Some options include meal tickets to local restaurants, discount vouchers for leisure activities, access to sports facilities or wellness programs.

4. Listen to the workers:

Open communication and active listening are essential to prevent absenteeism problems in the HORECA sector. It is important to give workers the opportunity to express their concerns and suggestions and take action based on their feedback. This not only helps to identify possible causes of absenteeism, but also demonstrates to the teams that their opinion is valued and that you are working to improve their work experience.

Example: A hotel incorporates a digital suggestion box where each employee can anonymously send their ideas and concerns. Through this system, suggestions will be collected such as: the need for a better shift rotation system, the implementation of active breaks during the workday and the improvement of internal communication.

Apart from these examples, there are other options to do this listening: conduct one-to-one meetings. With niikiis, you can conduct work climate surveys that will help you listen to the needs of your team and encourage this active listening.

5. Organize Teambuilding activities

Encouraging the integration of the workforce into the corporate culture helps to improve the atmosphere within the team. In this way, absenteeism can be reduced.

Teambuilding consists of carrying out creative, cultural and team-building activities to increase employees' overall happiness, integration and sense of belonging. Examples include: cooking workshops, excursions or outdoor activities, volunteer activities such as beach clean-ups.

Our software has an integrated social network that will make it easier for you to communicate internally with the team and create a good working environment.

How to calculate absenteeism

With niikiis you can keep track of your employees' vacations and absences. You can also improve the quality of communication between different departments with a flexible and intuitive tool.

Our software allows you to optimize the management of absences and vacations, filter by departments or types of absences, keep track of shifts through a visual calendar to control absenteeism, among many other options.

Contact us for more details or request a demo!

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