5 practical ways you can reduce absence

Two women in an office environment. One of them is suffering from a cold and is blowing her nose.

Over the past few years with Covid specifically and the after effects – stress, anxiety and even long Covid, many businesses have been seeing the effects of absence on their business.

It can be frustrating to deal with and manage but as always trying to think ahead and get things in place before it becomes an issue is the best way forward.

When dealing with absence, as a business owner or manager, you can implement things that will help to minimise absence within your business, and it’s easier than you might imagine. Here are our 5 best suggestions…

1. Be more flexible

It’s something we’re all used to these days, but giving your people a little more flexibility can mean the difference between someone calling in sick with a sniffle, or them working from home instead.

It could mean that someone work from 7am – 3pm, so that they can still collect their children from school.

These days, people simply don’t have the time to deal with all of their responsibilities in life. Some of the sick days that people take may simply be used to ‘catch up’. So, offering more flexibility, whether that’s bringing in a hybrid working policy, or flexi-time, could dramatically decrease the number of sick days people use.

A signpost with the word 'Policy' pointing to the left and 'Procudure' pointing to the right.

2. Be clearer with your guidelines

Your people should know that, while you don’t expect them to come into work with the flu, taking a day off for a trivial issue is also unacceptable.

Look at ways you can support your team, such as working from home with a bad back, or giving them time off for medical appointments, so they don’t use a whole day sick for a 20-minute appointment.

3. Introduce a wellbeing initiative

Looking out for your peoples’ wellbeing can reduce stress and increase fitness. It’s a no-brainer.

If you can afford a grand scheme, like gym memberships, or subscriptions to mental health apps, go for it, but likewise, you don’t have to spend a fortune to make a difference. Encourage people to have catch-up meetings while taking a walk, swap the office doughnuts for a fruit bowl and save the cakes for special occasions only.

You could even create a company challenge, to see which team can walk, swim or cycle the most miles each month. Little things can have a big impact.

A man and a woman in athletics attire running on a sunny beach.

4. Introduce better communication

Could it be that people take sick leave because they’re unaware of their options?

Schedule regular 121 meetings to open lines of honest, confidential communication between employees and managers. And make sure that, if anyone is showing signs of poor mental or physical health, you approach them to see how you can help.

5. Train your managers

Your managers are the frontline in keeping your people well and healthy. They have a lot to deal with, so make sure they’re equipped with the tools they need to identify and tackle any issues in the most sensitive manner. A good balance is crucial to ensure your business isn’t affected with presenteeism or absenteeism.

A woman giving a presentation to a small group of employees in an office environment.

As always, a careful and measured approach is in your best interests when it comes to dealing with absence.

If you’d like any further advice, we’d be glad to help. Just give us a call to arrange a conversation.