6 tips for managing staff absence and sickness in the workplace

Staff sickness is unavoidable however, it can be costly to your business. As an employer it’s beneficial to understand why your absence rate is high, and how to improve managing staff absence and sickness. Generating happy, motivated employees is the main goal and one which will help maintain a positive outlook on the company.

Here’s 6 tips for managing staff absence and sickness:

  1. Consider offering a “hangover day” or “duvet day”

For some, this may seem excessive however, it builds an open and honest atmosphere. This increase in communication might be just what your business is looking for, knowing more about your staff’s issues will help you understand why there’s potentially been a drop in morale or productivity. Offering these days off around 3 times per year will help reduce staff burnout and increase trust.

  1. Increase holiday allowance

When employees take holiday this has a reduced impact on the business because they’re planned. Increasing staff holiday from the bare minimum could remove staff feeling the need to ‘top-up’ their holiday allowance through sick leave. This could also be introduced as an incentive, each year accruing more holiday depending on the amount of sick leave taken over the past 12 months. In addition to this, being flexible with carrying holiday over to the following year and ensuring all holiday rules are well known within the business is key to reducing staff absences.

  1. Encourage health and well-being within the workplace

We spend a great deal of our time at work, sometimes over 40 hours a week. As an employer we have a duty of care to an employee, ensuring they are staying healthy both mentally and physically. Stress and anxiety are some of the main reasons employees call in sick. Generating the right support for each employee is vital to ensuring you spot early signs of stress or alternative mental health issues and additionally, provide them with the correct support and resources to tackle the issue before it gets worse.

  1. Have a clear absence policy

Introducing a concrete absence policy is beneficial for both you and your employees – You both know where you stand and what the general process for staff sickness is. Encouraging only phoning in sick and by a certain time e.g. 9am is a good starting point, this gives you both clarity and discipline. We would also advise you to always keep a record of absences, this is so you’re able to spot recurring patterns for each individual. On top of this, using an online tool to keep track of holidays and absences gives the process more structure and becomes easier to monitor multiple employees. Finally, ensure you have a return to work meeting, this will help identify any future issues.

  1. Encourage flexi working

Everyone is different and everybody works differently, as an employer and manager, recognising this is key. Allowing staff to work when they’re at their most productive benefits both you and your employee. Many businesses are now shifting their focus to overall work produced over hours worked. Furthermore, introducing ‘core hours’ is a good stepping-stone to creating a flexible office environment, providing those who would usually call in sick with more autonomy – overall reducing absences.

  1. Create the optimal office environment

Office environments have evolved over decades, molding into spaces to maximise productivity and improve health and well-being. As an employer, there are many factors to consider such as; lighting, adding biophilia, a welcome splash of colour dependent on the mood you wish to generate and of course, finding the optimum temperature. Ensuring your employees feel comfortable within the office is paramount to creating a happy and healthy environment.

Starting just 1 of these managing staff absences tips could benefit your business and showcase an increase in employee morale. If you would like to talk to us and gain some HR advice or support regarding managing staff absence, please do get in touch with us via email [email protected] or call 01386 751740.

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