How strong is your attendance policy?

Daily attendance is crucial in many jobs.

Daily attendance is crucial in many jobs.

Workplace policies are put in place to keep things running smoothly and efficiently while maintaining the health of both the company and its employees. However, not all policies are created equal: In fact, a poorly-crafted policy can contribute to an unhealthy work environment, in more ways than one. 

Employee attendance is an important issue, especially in industries where being present at the work site is essential for work to be completed. However, not all situations necessitate being physically present to get the job done, and in these instances, HR may see fit to institute a work from home policy that allows employees a greater amount of flexibility. 

For industries where employees absolutely must be physically present, it is essential to have an attendance policy that works well. But where should HR draw the line between an attendance policy that is too strict, and one that is too lenient?

Inc. contributor Suzanne Lucas discusses the drawbacks of poorly-made attendance policies in a recent article, explaining a scenario where workers were willing to work when sick so they could avoid being penalized for being absent. 

Lucas notes that when workers come to the office sick, it can hurt everyone, and spread germs and illness. The more workers are sick, the bigger the negative impact it is likely to have on your business. It makes more sense to implement a policy that allows employees to make reasonable decisions about their health. However, if an employee has been taking advantage of the attendance policy, it should be handled on an individual basis. 

Policies can have a major impact on behavior in the workplace. An effective HR system can help manage the details to see what's working and what needs to be improved.