All employers want their staff to be happy and productive at work.
But, the cost of sickness takes a toll on your business. According to the UK’s largest annual survey the average worker is absent from work for 6.5 days a year. This figure varies from one workplace to another but the cost to the UK economy is £16 billion annually. It’s not surprising that some businesses struggle to know where to start managing this issue.
Fortunately, there is lots you can do to help your employees stay well, and create a workplace they will fall in love with.
Practical steps to avoid excessive sickness absence
- Monitoring sickness absence. Get your data in good shape so that you know where likely problems and absences are likely to crop up. Find out more about sickness absence monitoring procedures.
- Policies. Review your disciplinary procedures (download a free policy template here) and ensure you have made it clear to employees what the consequences of excessive sickness absence are. Frequent communication, consistent application of a fair policy such as Air’s free short term and long term sickness absence policies, and an expectation that return to work interviews will always be carried out is vital. The last thing you want is managers in one team letting things slide while the neighbouring department is run with more rigour.
- Flexible working. Allowing a degree of flexibility in normal working hours is another strategy that can help. Click here for more information about flexible working including a free flexible working/working from home policy template) If employees know they can take a day off at short notice to deal with family, childcare or other caring responsibilities, the need for them to call in sick for non-genuine reasons is mitigated. Its give and take – building flexibility in as far as reasonably possible will pay dividends in terms of asking people to work extra hours from time to time if a key project is looming.
- Tracking absence patterns and looking for “hotspots”. You’ll need a good tool to keep track of people’s absence and see any patterns. Early action is essential and can head off problems down the track. Air includes free holiday and absence tracking, a company calendar, and a real time HR dashboard that’s ideal for busy managers.
- Consider other ways of rewarding good attendance. Sometimes organisations use incentive payments, time banking systems, buying and selling leave. Find out more about incentives and rewards that actually work to increase employee engagement here.
- Understand what you can do to support wellbeing and mental health, the hidden epidemic affecting one in six UK workers.