Are absent employees leaving you short staffed? When you start hearing excuses for absenteeism like, "I got bit by a mosquito and my eye is swollen shut," or, "I broke my big toe and can't walk," or even, "My car won't start," it's a symptom that your people are sick - sick of work. The woman who has an illness or death in her family on a regular basis may really be avoiding work, and you should be more than a little troubled about it.

The disease at work is stress. This is the stress we're putting on people by asking them to do more with less. People become defeated by the challenges and they feel entitled to skip work. They are saying, "I can't stand it here," in an overt sort of way. There is a building desire among workers to job-hop, and once the economy recovers some employers may see heavy turnover.

Why don't those people leave now? They can't afford to. During economic downturns, people tend to stay put because of low talent demand in the workplace. Unemployment and layoffs are on the rise and cause worry about job security. But you can bet that there will be a rising exodus once the job market picks up. The article, "Businesses Sailing Into Perfect Storm for Talent as Global Economy Improves," (Industry News March 8, 2010) sites research from Companies at Crossroads in conjunction with The Economist Intelligence Unit indicating that approximately a third of business executives surveyed believe employee engagement is low. As a result they expect to lose key people as the economy recovers and talent demand grows.

People want to be committed to their work and feel as though they are contributing. But they begin to think about leaving when executives and leaders don't clearly demonstrate that they are important to organizational success. Emotional Intelligence plays an important role here. It's hard for people to care when they don't feel cared for. They're angry that their work is not acknowledged and live in fear that they'll be out of a job tomorrow.

The tone and culture of the organization is set by the leaders. Even in tough times, it's possible to foster positive emotions in the workplace. A well placed word and a dose of empathy can go a long way. This small effort may prevent next week's phone call from your assistant stating that he couldn't make it to work because the garage door is stuck halfway open.

Author's Bio: 

As a professional Emotional Intelligence speaker, trainer, consultant, coach and author, Byron Stock delivers high-energy emotional intelligence training programs, that target today's issues. Describing himself as "A Recovering Engineer," Byron focuses on results, helping people enhance their Emotional Intelligence skills. To learn more about Byron's practical, user-friendly techniques, visit to download a free excerpt of his "how to" book, Smart Emotions for Busy Business People.