Reduce Absences on National Sickie Day
Imogen Palmer provides timely advice for employers in the approach to National Sickie Day (the day in the UK when employees are statistically the most likely to pull a sickie) on Monday 3rd February.
According to HR experts, ELAST, the first Monday in February is the most likely date on the calendar for employees to phone in sick (although it might be noted other organisations have suggested alternative dates over the years).
Most of us have been with our organisations long enough to know that feeling demotivated, particularly in the period after Christmas, can prompt many an employee to make, or invent, an excuse for taking time off.
Face to face communication is a very powerful tool employees can use to prevent workplace absenteeism as it encourages employees to discuss how they are feeling.
January and February can be particularly tough months for people suffering with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as well as those who experience anxiety and depression. You are more likely to avoid staff absences by identifying a mental health issue, showing empathy, and working with the employee to ensure their workplace mental wellbeing.
Physical ailment is also often blamed for employee absences – and usually with justification. It may seem obvious, but coughs and colds are year-on-year the most common cause of workplace sickness in the UK.
Although employees will often blame air conditioning units for the spread of germs, the development of air HVAC systems and filters over the last decade makes the likeliness of recirculating germs very slim. It is much more feasible for the spread of germs around an organisation to be accelerated by poor hand hygiene after coughing and sneezing.
Organisations can take simple and cost-effective measures to promote hand hygiene in the workplace, thus limiting the spread of viruses. One such measure, now commonplace in the healthcare sector, is the installation of hand sanitiser stations at entranceways. This encourages staff to use the sanitiser every time they enter the workplace. Handwashing posters are also an effective way to raise awareness and reinforce your hand hygiene message. They provide details of how to properly wash the hands to ensure all germs are removed and good poster placement can prompt staff to wash their hands more regularly.