Managing Sickness Absence – A Workplace Guide
There’s no denying that the most important key to any business’s success is a solid, well trained and effective team. Your team members are one of the foundations to a solid business model – after all they’re usually your link with customers, they’re doing the work, and they’re bringing you ideas and helping your company grow.
We’ve gone over the benefits of mental health support, and the resources necessary to help develop and empower your team, but what about helping them during times of sickness?
Managing sickness absence isn’t just about reinforcing policies or making sure your employees only take time when they’re actually sick – it can come down to benefits, feeling pressures, overworked, or even experiencing a toxic work environment.
Managing Sickness Absence – A Guide
When most employers and employees think about sick days, or sick time, it’s obvious it can be a sore subject for both parties. In many unfortunate cases, employees can feel overworked, mentally burnt out and even worse, pressured when it comes to taking time for their health.
In some circumstances, employers may have unreasonable expectations that lead to employees feeling like taking a day off will burden coworkers and be seen as weakness. But isn’t that why companies provide paid time off and sick days? To give their staff the chance to take a mental health day, or get to their doctor when they need it? Below we’ve got some tips and strategies to manage sickness absence.
- Encourage staying home when they don’t feel well – A problematic stigma in the workplace are employees not feeling supported by their employer when they are unwell. Taking a day or two off of PAID leave can help mitigate the spread of things like common colds and flu. Giving employees the chance for reasonable R&R means they recover more quickly. This can decrease the amount of time they need off, but also ups their productivity while at work.
- Ensure support, no matter what – Falling ill is one of the most stress inducing situations in the workplace. Employees experiencing hardships at home, family emergencies or otherwise also causes added stress. Sometimes these scenarios can be embarrassing. By offering them support and reassuring them that they are encouraged to use the paid time off to recover or get through their situation, you’re allowing them the opportunity to proceed confidently.
- Discourage working out of specified hours – If recurring or even sudden onset illness comes at a time when workload is high, employees sometimes feel obligated to work from home while sick, or put in more hours outside of a regular work day. While the pressure to catch up and pull their weight from day to day can be high, it’s important to reassure employees that their health is more important than overdoing it at work. Working too many hours, or working outside of a regular work day can produce lower quality work and decrease productivity.
- Open communication is key – If missed work due to recurring illness is a problem, it’s important to sit down and have open dialogue with employees. While encouraging team members to utilise their sick time, if there is a pattern of behaviour it may be important to find out the reason. Employers may be able to help boost productivity if things like commuting, recurring appointments or unknown health problems may be the underlying issue.
- Celebrating lack of time off is a no-no – While someone with a perfect work attendance may genuinely not need or want sick time, it’s important not to over-celebrate individuals who pride themselves on being a workhorse. Good work ethic is a wonderful trait to have, and every company values someone who gets the job done. However, even the most dedicated employees need a break.
While these are only a few of the ways you can help manage sickness absence in the workplace, these are some of the hot topics that may cause lengthier periods of leave. Regardless of the reason for the absence, it’s important to encourage employees of the benefits available to them, including paid time off.
Equally, it’s important for employees to be aware of the benefits available to them. Understanding their benefits and how to utilise them can empower the individual employee. At hug, our platform can help match employee needs to the most appropriate benefits. If you’d like to book a demo to see how hug can help you build a happier, healthier workplace, please click here today.