Top tips for managing staff absences.

Examining a number of key ways to manage staff absences within the workplace.

Ensuring clear procedures are in place and be prepared to manage absences without affecting the business needs.

As covid numbers increase and people work from the office more where general health bugs linger absence levels are increasing.  This puts pressure on those who remain well and on businesses. There are a number of key ways to manage staff absences, but in most instances, they need to be handled with care, clarity and transparency.

Employees may be absent from work due to a variety of personal or professional reasons. However, an efficient workplace must have clear procedures in place and be prepared to manage absences without affecting the business needs.

According to ONS, close to 149.3 million working days were lost in the UK due to sickness or injury in 2021.

With the impact of covid, and other conditions which emerged due to the pandemic, it may be unavoidable for employees to commit to work, leading to challenging situations within businesses.

Absence management

Communication is the key

The pandemic has led to concerns about worsening mental health across the UK, as well as the effect on our physical health – both key contributors to a surge in reported absences. This trend may be one of the factors as the pandemic was the reason behind one in four of all incidents of sickness absences in 2021.

This shift in workplace behaviours has encouraged businesses of all sizes to reconsider their strategies, and employ an effective communication scheme to encourage the overall development and engagement of employees.

Organisations should be encouraged to stay in constant touch with staff, especially those who are regularly absent or favour unauthorised absences.

Communicating with them and finding the underlying cause of their problem or anxiety will help employees navigate any difficulties they are facing.

Following a structured return to office plan

Companies such as Airbnb and Mastercard are offering permanent working from home opportunities for their employees.

However, industries such as hospitality and security may find remote work impractical for their field and may force employees to return to offices.

This procedure must be followed in such a systematic and empathetic way that employees are not left overwhelmed.

Changing a whole workplace schedule, which was the new-norm for more than two years, can be strenuous and demanding, and following a flexible plan may help employees transition to work without any hassle.

This may help staff adapt to a new post-pandemic change and avoid any unwanted absences arising from the change to return to work.

Encouraging a positive atmosphere

With Elon Musk threatening his employees with dire penalties if they choose to stay at home and not return to work, these actions may have potential consequences on workers’ mental health and set a negative precedent for businesses to follow.

According to the Labour Force Survey, more than 17.9 million working days were lost in the year 2019/20 due to work-related stress, depression, or anxiety.

A positive work environment, where a platform is presented for employees to share their concerns or worries which in turn promotes an inclusive work culture, will surely boost staff morale.

This will help employees feel safe and comfortable within the workplace, thereby reducing the need for any unexpected absences.

For additional tips and information on how to manage staff absence in your organisation, seek an independent HR advisor for guidance.