Research: COVID-19 Microstudy on Staff Availability

The COVID-19 pandemic had significant potential to impact staff availability. The Staff Availability During COVID-19 Microstudy analysed staff availability levels and metro actions to manage them. The region with the most significant downturn and continued lower levels of availability is Latin America, where metros had experienced a deeper impact (about 20% below normal) since May 2020.

The study further looked at staff availability by role i.e. train drivers, station staff, and maintenance staff, as well as absence policies and management. Metros reported various strategies for better supporting employees and preventing absence during the pandemic. Continuing support for employees is important to ensure readiness for future increases in customer demand.

Research: Managing and Reducing Absenteeism

Absenteeism presents widespread impacts of loss of productivity, delays and reduced morale that would affect metros’ efficiency and reliability. Currently CoMET and Nova have an average staff absenteeism rate of 4.7% (based on 2018 data), creating significant challenges for managing service provision. This study investigated levels of absenteeism at CoMET and Nova metros, identified and explored underlying causes of absenteeism, and discussed best practices to manage and/or reduce absenteeism. In discussing the factors that metros have identified that lead to absence, it is clear that absenteeism does not have one single cause and is influenced by multiple internal and external factors. It therefore requires a comprehensive set of solutions to manage and reduce.

Approaches and actions to manage and reduce absenteeism focus on measurement and management of absence data and positive approaches to employee relations. Initiatives within these categories help ensure that metros understand the scale of the issue across different organisational parameters (such as absenteeism rates by team) as well as developing an overall culture of care and trust between management and labour.