Many companies try to emphasize productivity over everything else. But there is a long list of things on a staff member's mind that needs to be attended to before that staff member can be effective. An employee who is worried about things outside of work is not going to be consistently productive.
Some of the concerns employees have include:
Personal finances and when the economy will recover;
Pending car or home repairs;
Issues with their children;
Getting their work schedule to sync up with their personal schedule;
If a company pays a fair wage, then an employee's financial issues should not be something that affects the workplace. If an employee is gambling or has compiled a large list of credit card bills, then the company can recommend counselors that will help with the situation.
Some of the other employee concerns that affect productivity can also be addressed by the company. A corporate daycare center/benefit helps to alleviate the problems of personal scheduling and child issues. A company can even work with local lenders to help employees find low interest rate loans to help with employee financial issues.
As for employee health issues, an employer needs to understand that employees get sick and, sometimes, employees just need a work day where they do not go into work. The weekend is a big help toward tending to employee health issues, but it is not the same as being able to call in on a work day and not having to worry about work.
As long as employees do not abuse the right to call in sick, then it is something employers should extend with reasonable boundaries. Sick days are the time that the employee can use to call in when needed. Personal days are usually extra days that can be tacked on to sick days or vacation days to allow employees even more time.
The problem is that some employers make it difficult for employees to use personal days. When an employer makes it difficult for an employee to use personal days, then the employee will find other ways to get out of work. It is best to respect the needs of the employee and make personal days accessible.
Employees need to understand that companies can only offer so many paid sick days before the concept of calling in sick becomes counterproductive. People get sick, and that is one of the reasons why companies have sick days. But when employees take an unusually high amount of sick days off when they are not sick, then that can cause a strain on the relationship between employer and employee.
Employees need to be aware of how many sick days they have and avoid abusing them. If an employee needs an extended leave to take care of a personal problem, then they should be up front with the company about it and arrange for an unpaid leave.
This will preserve the good relationship between the employee and the company and will also help to ensure that the employee has a job waiting for him when he has resolved his issue.
Jan Kantor is a Southwest Florida business consultant and executive coach. For more information, or to contact him regarding workplace solutions, his website is www.jankantor.com.