Posted on 21st April 2016
An effective absence management programme is one approach that businesses can adopt to try to support employee well being and reduce sick leave. The CIPD’s 2015 report into absence management highlights that mental health is a big reason for long absences, with stress counting as one of the top reasons for short-term absenteeism.
There are simple changes employers can make to cut stress in the workplace, for example, by making changes to workloads and office culture to better support staff. We believe that one way of doing this could be to take steps to introduce a shorter workday or to give employees more flexible working options such as a day working from home.
Presenteeism is still identified by the CIPD report as an issue for employers, but no one wants a snuffling, poorly colleague sitting next to them. Perhaps they would be more effective working from home on that day? Trust is of course a major player when it comes to offering incentives like this.
Some companies have introduced targets to reduce office absence. There’s a lot of emphasis in the CIPD report about controlling short-term sick leave with return-to-work interviews and disciplinary procedures. Employers can find useful information about sick notes and statutory sick pay at the gov.uk site here. However, while this could be necessary for some workplaces, it’s important for employers to take positive steps for change as well.
Some forward-thinking businesses are now looking at the complete workplace picture and seeking far more proactive ways to prevent a culture of absenteeism in the first instance. Many companies have also taken up employee wellness programmes, offering gym memberships or private health insurance as an employee benefit. Sweden has even introduced a shorter working day, with the view that staff productivity will increase. This has been mirrored by some companies in the UK.
A good way to implement positive change is to encourage employees to get moving. For example, Sport Relief is coming up in March, so you could find an organised run or fitness challenge that employees can join in with. These sort of ideas often boost staff morale as well, and act as a positive talking point. It’s also true that employees who are fit and healthy are less likely to suffer from coughs and colds.
Get in touch if you’d like to talk about your flexible recruitment options in further detail. If workload is an issue in your working environment, it could be that hiring a part-time or reduced hours employee could make all the difference to your current employees.
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