January 8, 2024
How to Set up a PTO Tracker in Google Sheets
If you’re running a business or managing a team, you need a way to track annual leave, sick leave and other...
Absence management software tools can be a huge quality of life improvement to the way you run your business.
Tracking absences, such as sick leave, paid time off, or other planned or unplanned absences, is important to keep the people side of your business under control and running smoothly.
But do you really need another software tool? Does an absence management software really bring that much to your business? Or is it just another software you need to manage, bringing unnecessary complexity and cost?
There are five big reasons why your company will benefit a whole lot from implementing a software tool in your absence management system. Here they are:
Absence management comes under the umbrella of tasks called “busywork”. These are tasks that are somewhat time-intensive, important, but don’t really bring a clear return on the time invested.
For example, tracking your staff’s absences and filling out the team vacation calendar is a vital task. You can’t ignore it. But it’s not like the time you spend on this correlates to profits or revenue.
Absence management software automates most of this busywork, freeing up more time for business owners, managers or the HR team to focus on tasks that directly affect the company’s bottom line.
Another downside of having a real person handle all your busywork is the potential for errors.
Even if the person handling your absence management system is bright, intelligent and driven, they’re always going to make a mistake here and there. It’s simply human nature.
These mistakes can sometimes have a big fallout, by causing disruptions due to short-staffing or discontent amongst employees.
An automated software tool doesn’t make mistakes. If set up correctly, you’ll have significantly fewer opportunities for human error to happen, helping your team run smoothly and without incident.
A big part of effective absence management is managing your company’s schedule to ensure everything continues to run smoothly, even when employees are away or on leave.
If you choose to handle your absence management system yourself, it can soon become difficult to tell, at a glance, how many people are away on a given day, and how it might affect workflow.
This can result in unexpected disruptions, or approving further absences, despite the team already running short.
An absence management software, assuming you choose the right one, should make scheduling significantly easier, by giving you some combination of a web UI, customizable notifications, and calendar integrations to make it clear whenever absences are coming up.
Absence management is not just about what you do when someone puts in a leave request. It’s also about a long-term plan to cut down absenteeism and related issues.
This means noticing long-term trends, and creating an action plan based on those trends when it starts to become a problem.
Your absence management software should be able to give you a clear breakdown of an employee’s sick leave history, allowing your HR team to sit down with them and identify the root cause of their absences.
Absence management software also helps with the other side of the coin – employees who are present too often.
It sounds laughable that this could be a problem. But presenteeism – when employees continue showing up to work at reduced capacity, generally due to sickness, injury or overwork – is estimated to cost US businesses up to $150 billion in lost productive hours per year.
As well as identifying employees with a pattern of absences, your absence management software will be able to show you the team members who work too long without taking any time off, which may be advanced notice of burnout or productivity issues to come.
In a similar vein to the previous point, we often think of absence management as simply dealing with, or more ideally, cutting down absences in our team.
We don’t think of absences – such as vacation days and the odd sick day – as a vital part of the business, and something that team members need in order to stay healthy, happy and productive.
That’s why it should be in your best interest – as a business owner, manager or leader of a team – to make it easy (and encourage) team members to take time off on a regular basis.
An absence management software tool will generally streamline the process for employees to ask for time off, stripping away the anxiety and friction of needing to send a private message or face-to-face chat whenever they want to take a vacation day.
Instead of a net loss in productivity from employees being on leave more often, the result will actually be a team of more energized, focused and less stressed individuals, who produce more and contribute to a positive work environment.
The five points we’ve discussed already show the value and importance of using absence management software in your business. The next question is which tool is right for you?
But there are numerous different absence management software tools out there, and not all are built the same.
The best absence management software could be different for each organization. Your team likely has specific needs, and it’s worth shopping around for a tool that works for you.
Here are some tips on picking out an absence tracking and management software tool.
If your leave management system still requires a manual process for requesting and approving leave – such as emailing or private messaging a manager – it’s not a full-stack absence management system.
You want a tool that cuts down the friction of asking for time off, and also makes it easy and convenient to review leave requests.
The tool should take the inputs from this process (the details of the leave request, and whether it was approved or denied), and seamlessly transfer it to the team schedule, and to each employee’s individual profile.
Consider if there’s any particularly complex features your absence management system needs. For most companies, however, you’ll want a tool that makes your system as simple as possible.
Unless you need any specific complexities, you likely want a tool that doesn’t take much time to set up or to figure out.
The idea of a software tool is to make your life easier, not to add another task in and of itself to your plate.
Each company will be different in what they’re willing to spend on a software tool. If you’re an early stage startup, with just a few people, you’ll probably want to start with a free tool. However, for larger teams, or if you have more complex requirements, it’s almost always worth the monthly subscription cost to pay for a tool, when you consider the time savings as an hourly cost.
The best absence management software should have a pricing model that grows with you, offering cheap or free options for small teams, while also supporting more complex needs for when your business begins to really take off and grow.
You shouldn’t need to add a whole new platform to your company’s workflow. Ideally, your absence management software should integrate with the platform(s) you already work on, such as Slack or MS Teams.
You also want to look for integrations with other tools your business already uses. The more interconnected your tools are, the more streamlined and efficient you can make your workflow.
For example, a lot of professionals today basically run their lives on Google Calendar. These people will want their absence management software to offer an easy way to transfer data to the calendar, to know at a glance if there are any absences coming up from their team.
The same goes if you use any other calendar apps or scheduling software in your workflow.
Finally, your absence management software should provide you with data you can use to identify trends and manage the long-term health of your team.
This is essential for cutting down absenteeism, burnout, or costly payouts due to long-term leave accruals.
Flamingo is an absence management software tool that is catered towards modern workplaces.
From early stage startups, to larger teams with multiple departments, Flamingo is a streamlined way of taking leave requests, keeping tabs on employee absence records, and keeping your absence calendar up-to-date.
Here’s how absence tracking works with Flamingo.
Flamingo integrates seamlessly with Slack, as well as Google Calendar and other calendar apps.
Setting it up for your organization is quick and easy, and can be done in the time you wait for your morning coffee to brew.
It’s free to try, with an affordable pricing plan that only kicks in when your business begins to expand.
Flamingo makes managing your team’s paid time off a breeze.