Supportive bosses reduce absenteeism

Absenteeism may be reduced in workplaces where supervisors offer high levels of support to staff members, new research has suggested. Published by the American Psychological Association in the Journal of Applied Psychology, the study revealed the role of a supervisor in certain hazardous jobs can encourage people to come into work rather than call in sick.

Investigators discovered this to be the case even in situations where other employees would be more inclined to take the day off.

According to the findings, both peer pressure and a job's level of risk are not deemed as important in these decision-making processes as the influence of a worker's manager.

It was shown that colleagues held sway on the choices of fellow workers only in instances when supervisors were deemed to be unsupportive.

Michal Biron of Israel's University of Haifa and the Tilburg University in the Netherlands, said: "Leadership will do well to provide frontline supervisors with training and resources so that they can be supportive of their employees who deal with tough work environments."

Ros Taylor, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "A supportive boss means that there is someone in authority at work who will help with issues and problems.

"It is important for employees to know that they won't be vilified or needlessly undermined especially when working in tough environments. The most common cause of long-term sickness absence now is stress, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development/ Simplyhealth Absence Management survey in 2011. And we know that support mitigates the effects of stress.

"An article in Mind in 2011 stated that British businesses lose an estimated £26 billion each year in sickness absence and lost productivity. With greater awareness and support, they said businesses could save one third of these costs - 'a mammoth £8 billion a year'.

"A supportive boss engenders loyalty and a desire not to let them or the team down so even on days when it might be easier to stay at home an employee will make the effort to come in to work.

"Really it is the power of reciprocity at its best. The good deed of support is rewarded by worker presence."