Friday, July 20, 2007

"SAS" (and we don't mean Special Forces)

I have a client/friend who occasionally has too much time on his hands, so he calls to "chew the fat." I really don't often mind, because he's an interesting fellow, and sometimes I need a break, too. But this can be taken to extremes; according to Kronos ("a global provider of human capital management solutions"), some 40% of employees will call in sick this summer, even though they're actually quite fine.

[Graphic courtesy of Employee Benefit News]
Kronos calls this "taking a Bueller," a nod to the popular 1986 comedy [ed: hard to believe that film is old enough to drink]. So, with help from Harris Interactive, they surveyed almost 1,100 "employed adults" to see how many folks really do this (and/or would admit to it).
While taking the occasional "unscheduled" day off may seem harmless enough, it appears that there may well be a dark side: too many people taking too many "Buellers" could have some negative consequences in the workplace. For one thing, it means that there more honest co-workers are left to pick up their slack. For another, it encourages those who haven't indulged to do so, which sets up a precedent, and a vicious cycle.
One way to nip the problem in the bud is to go proactive: much as "Casual Fridays" ruled the 90's, identifying "Summer Fridays" (closing shop early at the end of the week, for example) could be just the firewall that's needed. And, as we saw with Paid Time Off, giving folks flexibility in the days they work can also help mitigate this problem.
I've got more to say about this, but it's Friday, and I'm not feeling so well....


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