AWOL (pronounced “ay-woll”; an acronym of Absent WithOut Leave) is when staff fail to show up for work and do not have either a) annual leave booked or b) permission to be absent.

Unplanned staff absence can be due to any number of factors, including:

  • An employee falling ill and being unable or forgetting to contact their manager.
  • Staff reading the rota incorrectly and assuming they weren’t needed in work.
  • Staff working from an outdated version of the staff schedule and unintentionally being late for or missing a shift.
  • An employee refusing to come in as a result of some grievance they have with their employer or a coworker.
  • An employee quitting the company without informing their employer and failing to show up for the shifts they’ve been given.

Staff not showing up for work can have a big impact on business, putting a dent in profits, affecting customer service levels, and even putting undue pressure on other members of the team.

Managers are advised to make use of tools like people management software to ensure that their staff always have access to the latest version of the work rota to avoid any confusion around shifts, and so that any instances of unplanned absence are properly recorded.

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