Unscheduled absences are a fact of life in the work place. Regardless of why an employee misses a shift, the impact of an unscheduled absence and how an organization handles the situation is important.

For those in event-based industries such as concerts, sporting events, performing arts, conventions, and catering, unscheduled absences (or “no shows”) are a fact of life. This makes having a policy in place even more important. By the time you realize someone is not going to be showing up, things may already have reached a critical stage. When you call a replacement  it’s imperative that the person will be available to work immediately. When time is of the essence, you don’t have time to work your way down a list of people who potentially won’t be available.

Here’s our pick of three key ways to handle unscheduled absences in your workplace:

Three Ways to Handle an Unscheduled Absences

Run Short: Use the resources you have

Make do without the absent worker by having existing employees pick up the slack where necessary. Run short works best in an office situation where responsibilities are often shared. In this situation, unexpected absences are likely to have minimal immediate impact in the short or long term. In this type of environment, existing staff are able to cover for the missing person. Run short can also work in situations where there are multiple other employees working one particular shift. If those employees are able to pick up the slack of the missing person for the time being, no harm will be done. In dire situations, the only option is to call in a Temp/Staffing Agency, or use our second recommendation: hold over.

Hold Over: Keep employees from the previous shift on for another.

Hold overs are typical in organizations where multiple shifts are scheduled in a day. In hold overs, employee(s) from a preceding shift work overtime to cover the missing person in a following shift. The extra cost of overtime outweighs the potential loss of an empty shift. In considering if a hold over is the right option, consider these two aspects:

  • Employee Fatigue – try to make sure the substitute is going to have an appropriate and safe level of alertness throughout the shift.
  • Overtime Hogs – those employees that “pig out” on overtime, even sacrificing alertness, safety, and job performance in order to collect the maximum amount of overtime possible.
Call-In: Call other employees as a replacement

Find a qualified employee who is not currently working and is available to cover the missing worker’s shift. In a perfect world, you will have a roster of employees who have volunteered to be available for extra shifts. This system gives preference for overtime to those who want to work more hours. This “call list” can be organized by seniority – giving long-term employees fist shot at overtime can be viewed as a benefit. Alternately, you can rotate employees through the list, thereby giving everyone an equal shot at overtime.

Automating Absence Management

One way to ensure that your replacement pool only includes employees that are available and qualified to work is to use an advanced scheduling solution. As an example Celayix Software’s eTime Xpress includes an employee communications web portal, Web Xpress. Web Xpress allows employees to check their schedules, confirm shifts and state their availability. Although not every available employee will get scheduled for a shift, you now have a collection of who would be available in case of a no show.

Let’s give an example of when this will be critical. It’s the day of your event, a major banquet, a sporting game, a catering gig, or a security job. Right before the shift starts, you realize you have no-shows and now you’re in a panic to replace them. With eTime Xpress, you would have immediate access to a “Call List” that includes only employees who have previously stated they are available to work that day, but were not already scheduled. With Celayix’s rule based scheduling, you can filter for things such as skills, overtime, or particular budgeting rules. Within a matter of seconds, chances are very high that the first person you call will be available to fill the vacancy. All of a sudden, your panic is gone and the shift is filled.


Final thoughts:

Whether through automating the process, or manually dealing with employee absences, it is important to think about implementing a formal policy that uses one of the three recommendations above. If you’re in an industry that requires full staff for each shift, it’s critical that you have a policy in place to cover those absences. Coming up with and implementing a policy to cover unscheduled absences means finding a way to meet the needs of the organization without alienating the needs of the workers.

For more information on absence management, stay tuned for next week’s blog post: Proactive Management: How to Prevent No Shows Before They Happen. In the meantime, if you are experiencing chronic absenteeism, check out our previous article on the topic here.

To learn more about absence management, absence prevention, and employee scheduling tools make all of this all easily manageable, contact us today at educate@celayix.com or at 1-888-591-5558