3 Ways Technology Can Help
Manage Absences in Construction

Absenteeism is one of the biggest issues that construction human resource managers need to address today. There are plenty of reasons why construction employees fall absent, many of which are legitimate and even unique to the industry. These include the following:

  • Workplace injuries

    Сonstruction employees face real dangers on the construction site. Accidents in the workplace and chronic injuries such as back and neck pain can cause absenteeism.

  • Illness

    Most construction work is done in the open and, therefore, workers exposed to the elements. They may miss work due to illness, especially during the flu season.

  • Bullying and harassment

    Employees who are bullied and harassed by colleagues may fall absent to avoid it. For example, many female employees may feel uncomfortable in a largely male construction workforce.

  • Stress and burnout

    Construction work is one of the most stressful jobs in the world. Even the most diligent employees can feel the stress build-up and end up getting absent.

  • Disengagement and low morale

    Employees who are not as committed and motivated to do the job may choose to get absent due to low morale.

  • Job hunting

    Employees looking for greener pastures may call in sick to go to job interviews.

While construction employers expect their employees to miss some workdays a few times a year, habitual as well as intentional absences can add up and result in decreased productivity. Eventually, this can translate to increased construction expenses due to project delays. A more devastating effect of absenteeism is its impact on the morale of the workforce. The practice can spread among other employees, amplifying its negative impact on employee motivation and the company’s finances.

Using Technology to Manage Construction Absences

While the construction industry has a reputation for being one of the least digitized in the world, many construction firms are now transitioning to a more digital approach to construction processes. A lot of new technologies have found new applications in the industry that have changed the landscape for the better – from accounting and lien management to on-field functions, tech is quickly becoming indispensable in construction. Here are some of the ways technology helps construction absence management.

Time Tracking in the Cloud

Punch cards and paper timesheets were the traditional methods of time tracking in many industries. While many businesses have since moved on from this system, a lot of construction firms still use it. However, this system is highly impractical and prone to errors, which can result in payroll mistakes and unreliable attendance tracking.

Digital time tracking in the cloud enables construction firms to eliminate the issues associated with manual time tracking, including buddy punching and time theft, even when managers are physically away from the construction site. Convenient real-time tracking and minimal maintenance also free up time for HR managers to do other urgent tasks. More importantly, it gives the human resources department more accurate attendance data compared to a paper system, which can lead to better decision-making.

Leave Management

Aside from attendance, it is also important to take control of how employees file leaves and note remaining leave credits based on the company’s rules for leave accrual. Again, the limitations of a paper-based system make this aspect of personnel management a hassle to accomplish. But with dedicated software, managing the absence of staff members is easy to do.

There are plenty of leave management apps available on the market which construction businesses can use. Here are some useful features that you need to look for when you get one:

  • Customizable leave request forms

    Staff members enter the date, type of leave, reasons, and other information you require based on the needs of the business.

  • Leave request notifications

    Getting notified of employee leave requests in real-time means you can respond to them instantly.

  • Automated leave credit calculation

    Make it easier for staff members to know how many leave credits they have remaining based on your company’s guidelines.

  • Detailed reporting

    Get a detailed overview of your staff member’s absence history and remaining leave credits.

Scheduling and Shift Management

Just one person absent from work can have an enormous impact on a construction site’s productivity. In a hard-pressed environment where everyone is trying to deliver a project on time and within budget, improperly managed absences will mess up schedules and lead to missed important deadlines. Beyond the financial implications, frequent absences can also cause loss of motivation as the employees who are present need to cope with the extra workload.

This is where a scheduling and shift management application comes in. Using a database that includes every staff member’s schedule as well as their approved leave requests, managers will be able to plan ahead and distribute the workload among available employees more efficiently. This also allows for better decision-making when responding to leave requests and even offering alternative schedules should you really need to reject their proposed time.

Many construction companies are concerned that investing in new technology will be expensive and difficult to maintain. However, construction technology has made huge leaps in recent years and dedicated applications are well within the reach of even the smallest construction firms. The benefits that they provide in helping manage HR challenges are well worth the investment.

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