Too much work leave

A leading academic today called for the introduction of policies to address the troublesome issues of absenteeism and declining productivity.

Senior Lecturer in Management Studies at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Dr Dion Greenidge told office professionals this morning that the level of voluntary absenteeism was taking a toll of local businesses and workers would be more productive if there were national frameworks in place to address the root causes of the problem.

Dr Greenidge said the authorities had taken some steps toward this goal but they were far from enough.

“Yes, we recently did our Employment Rights Act and we updated and revisited our Occupational Health and Safety Act and so on. Very well. But we have not gone the mile. I still think we are behind the ball game in relation to where a number of developed and some developing countries are when it comes to looking at these issues in organizations,” he said in an address at the Barbados Association of Office Professionals Administrative Professionals’ Day seminar at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Citing previously released figures to emphasize the point, the university lecturer pointed to a study conducted between 2004 and 2007, which found that 25 local companies had lost approximately $3 million in a six-month period.

It was not immediately clear how many man-hours were being lost due to the practice of employees regularly staying away from work, but in an address at a similar event in 2013 when he first released the survey results, Dr Greenidge said then that the rate of absenteeism ranged from 3.6 per cent to 8.1 per cent.

In his speech this morning the UWI lecturer suggested that workers wished to be productive but often lacked the motivation.

He explained that contributing factors ranged from the weather to a feeling of injustice, with work-related stress, workplace culture, poor management and leadership styles, inadequate communication structures and dissatisfaction with the performance of other workers, all informing the employees’ decision to skip work.

“We need to look at the issue on a broader context . . . so that interventions can be put in place to deal with those real issues that impact on employees . . . .They are being unproductive for varying reasons, not because they don’t want to be productive. And that is the important thing to understand. So there needs to be a policy move towards looking at the psychosocial environment,” he explained.

Dr Greenidge warned that unless policies were implemented there would be no progress. He encouraged businesses to help employees manage work-related stress and he called on human resource departments to ensure that the work environment was conducive to productivity.

“So do your practices allow for HR flexibility? Are we into developing our employees? And is HR involved therefore in linking to what I call the organizational strategic plan?” he asked.

The senior lecturer also stressed the need for a national wellness policy and a healthy work organization framework to help drive productivity.

“We need a creation of productivity measurement systems industry or organization-based which look at key performance indicators . . . that provide practical and useful information,” he added.

“We need to undertake a high performance work and HR relationship best practice survey at least twice yearly to at least understand what is happening in our organizations in Barbados, so we can influence leadership practices . . . . It is not that we don’t have good competent people in these positions but maybe they need management development,” Greenidge recommended.

9 Responses to Too much work leave

  1. jrsmith April 28, 2016 at 5:47 am

    What do you expect when our island has a top heavy non productive political infrastructure, and still we are stuck with bad management of ( BARBADOS LTD.).we are all laid back producing nothing, inputting nothing to the economy because we are lazy, bajans go overseas and work hard as hell but fill no gaps to add to the prosperity of the homeland…

    Bajans will always be the workers , as I always say that’s why Barbados is there for the taking but not by bajans, the foreigners will come and go treating bajans as just ordinary people, look at the strength of the unions not even being able to secure solution to simple problems , the government the Priminister treat bajans as second class citizens he doesn’t even want to communicate with the people , only when it suits him…

    Bajans need to reign in get they fingers out do something for Barbados/Bajans as to the heritage which should be left behind for the new generation to come…all these bajans who think they do as they like don’t want to work should be sent home sack them all, find people who want to work bring in people from the region who would pick the cotton..

    Our people the women as baby factories 6 women 38 kids, the young men ending up at DODDS, no sugar cane but planting marijuana, we have become a lawless island we would eventually have to build a new prison or expand on DODDS…

    The change we need

  2. Tony Webster April 28, 2016 at 6:57 am

    With all respect to a trained academic mind: one cannot…will never…be able to legislate human behaviour, particularly where such nuances as “productivity” are concerned. You could as well pass a law ( I know a certain lady Senator who could do this in 24 hours) requiring all Bajans over the age of six, to speak properly; be mannerly and civilised; be 100% honest… and to turn up for work and be “productive”

    Amazing what my mum and dad ( and my teachers also) did to instill a modicum of human values and moral under-pinnings, in this copy of an average Bajan. It all starts at home; plus a good schooling. Competent tutors at school represent the “last train to San Fernando”…after that, you are merely deluding yourself by setting standards and passing laws/ regulations.

  3. Elliott April 28, 2016 at 8:13 am

    A substantial number of Barbadians nee to take their jobs and responsibilities seriously. A fair day’s work for a fair day’s salary; no shirking, no dodging, no hiding.
    As has been mention above, they go into the big countries and perform exceedingly well. Let us put our best foot forward and do it here as well. Our future depends on it.

  4. Ann Aquarius
    Ann Aquarius April 28, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Lol…the moment when the headline makes you question your education 🙂

  5. Carson C Cadogan April 28, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Why dont you address the issues in the work place which is giving rise to so much absenteeism?

    The blame is always being placed on the workers.

    And dont keep fooling you all selves, there is absenteeism in other countries of the World, not just in Barbados as a few foolishly believe.

  6. Carson C Cadogan April 28, 2016 at 11:28 am

    “Nearly 80% of women with children between the ages of six and 13 work outside the home. This means that when a child is ill or when normal childcare arrangements fail for any reason, one of the parents may have to call in sick to look after their child.”

    “The major causes of sickness absence today are stress and muscular-skeletal disorders. Of course, these are symptoms of wider problems including overwork and poor management in the case of the former, and badly designed offices, lack of training or poor seating or posture in the case of the latter.”

    “Described as one of Britains most worrying workplace phenomena by TUC secretary general John Monks, bullying costs employers 18 million days work every year. According to a TUC-commissioned survey of 5,300 workers, one in 10 had been bullied in the previous six months.”

    Bullying by Managers and Supervisors, this is the most overlook aspect of work place absenteeism. You wont hear Dr Dion Greenidge talk about this.

  7. rikard April 28, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    A lot a long talk about productivity but nothing about being paid a decent salary for production. 25 companies lost 3 million dollars .How much of that was going into workers pockets if productivity was up? Not a red cent. Bajans can work but we’re tired of watching the rich getting richer while we suffer with just the financial crumbs.

  8. dave May 1, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    The Bosses are to blame

  9. Donild Trimp May 5, 2016 at 11:09 am

    What is “Too much work leave”?

    Suggestion: “Absenteeism a problem in the workplace”.


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