Did you know that 2nd February was ‘National Sickie Day’ in the UK? How did that affect you? Well here are my 7 Steps to reducing absenteeism to help in the battle against lost time –

IT IS known that the first Monday in February sees an estimated 350,000 British workers take a not-entirely-justified day off sick. For some it’s to attend an interview to fulfil that New Year’s Resolution to change jobs, for others it’s to beat the January blues. Either way their absence causes issues to any business be they big or small so here are my 7 steps to help reduce absenteeism

  1. Record It

Even the simple task of logging how many days are lost, by whom and when will help your business understand not only if you have a bigger attendance problem, but also if there are any key culprits and help establish a potential cost to your business of those lost days.

  1. Have an Absence Policy

This will formalise the company’s expectations in terms of reporting procedures, payment terms, what constitutes ‘excessive’ to you, and what actions will be taken in those circumstances.

  1. Carry out return to work interviews after EVERY sickness absence

After periods of absence these return to work interviews allow you to determine whether an employee has any underlying concerns, whether there is a pattern to their absence or if absent for a longer period whether they ae able to return to their duties and if modifications to their duties are required.  It also sends a clear message you take absence seriously. Imagine, if it was just a sickie, having to sit down with your line manager to ‘explain/excuse’ your absence! A return to work interview will also assist in an effective return to work and will help you determine if you need to consider disciplinary action (this may depend on the employee’s record).

  1. Consider alternative ways of working

With the technological advances today we have the ability to allow certain individuals to work online/remotely if, for instance, they have cold like symptoms. This makes complete sense from both the employee’s and the employer’s point of view; the employee is able to work from the comfort of their own home and doesn’t have to commute when they feel under the weather but are well enough to still contribute, and the business reduces the chances of the cold/flu spreading as well as not losing a worker to sickness.

  1. Ask leavers to identify problems

Do an exit interview when your employee leaves the company – when they have achieved that new role they went sick for the interview 😉 – to help identify any issues that are making your team members unhappy as disengaged unmotivated employees take more sick days. Those leaving are more likely to be honest in such chats if they are leaving the company anyway.

  1. Foster a culture of open communication

When your employee feels a sense of responsibility for their work and loyalty to their team, they’re much less likely to phone in sick on a whim because they don’t want to let their colleagues or your clients down. The idea is that they become more willing to talk openly to their manager if they have a health issue to ask for support from the company and understanding from their peers.

  1. Encourage work-life balance

By providing your managers with training in how to support your staff to achieve a more positive work-life balance you can help combat absenteeism. Additionally you must ensure that employees are aware of policies and programs available to help with work-life balance.

So how would you suggest tackling sickness absence in the workplace? For more help and advice contact us at www.threedomsolutions.co.uk or follow us on twitter @3domSolutions

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