This is the first week in the “A to Z” series explaining WiseWork. It’s all laid out in the “Why WiseWork” guide available on this site. Each week we will be taking a letter of the alphabet and looking at the word it represents.  This week it’s A for Absence.

When I chose ‘absence’ as the topic I was aware that introducing remote and flexible working schemes are known to reduce absenteeism. So it seemed obvious that one of the benefits of introducing WiseWork was going to be a reduction in absence.

Then I realised that measuring absenteeism is an outdated way to check up on people at work. It makes the assumption that people have to be present at a ‘workplace’ in order to get the job done. But increasing that is untrue. Measuring absenteeism implies that it’s bad and presenteeism is good.

The first of the seven Principles that are the foundation of WiseWork is “Work is done anywhere, at any time (unless proven otherwise)”. This reflects the fact that technology and social change have transformed the way we now work and employers have to keep up. If they are still insisting that people have to be present in order to work then they will be missing out on people who are looking for a better balance between work and their home lives.

Are you still measuring absenteeism? Is this a sign that you are still running a 20th Century (or maybe 19th??) in the 21st Century? If you are measuring results then why does it matter when and where the job gets done. There may be reasons why some work has to be done in a specific place but let’s treat that as the exception rather than the norm. And even then, you can still measure results and not reward people just for being present.

So let’s ban the use of ‘absence’ as a measure. It’s misleading and implies an outdated way of managing. If you adopt the WiseWork principles you will realise it’s meaningless and just encourages unproductive behaviour, long hours cultures and stressful working patterns. Will you join the ‘Ban Absence’ campaign?