Absenteeism in the Work Place and Getting on the Road to Recovery

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It is often said (and most successful business owners will agree) that what makes a huge difference in today’s business world is the workforce.

Normally the management can be congratulated if a company employs professional, reliable and happy workers.

Preventing absenteeism is one of the main basic managerial tasks. Obviously the best of us get ill and injured sometimes, but dealing with long and short term sickness absences is an issue for any sized company. Sickness absences comes at a cost for businesses and a key priority for most duty holders is to reduce them.

Recently, a new tax-relief scheme for “health- related interventions” has been introduced by the Government in an aim to help companies reduce the impact of cost which sick absences can involve.

The allocated money should be spent on trying to get people back to work with manageable conditions such as stress and back pain etc which means employees are usually signed off work for a long period of time and may have to rely on benefits. The scheme will relieve companies with up to £500 from the annual tax bill, leaving them with some extra cash to invest in various schemes to help employees get back to work.

Often the cost (and risk) of looking for, interviewing and training a new employee is considerably higher than helping an existing and reliable worker to get back to work.

Taking care of the ill employee will not only be cheaper, but should also raise confidence and display commitment to the rest of the staff in the company.

There are several different actions an employer could take in order to help workers with health conditions to get back to work. In most cases counselling is essential, especially for those with stress- related health conditions.

Re-gaining confidence and strength depends very much on the help we get from people around us, so the involvement that colleagues could give in the process could also be crucial, as well as being a good team- building tool. Depending on the particular condition, regular visits to occupational health specialists might be needed and of course, there is always training that would be crucial, especially if the absences from work were for an extended period of time.

Any new procedures, organizational improvements or use of any new technology must be explained to the employee before coming back to work.

Duty holders should be aware of the fact that many ill employees will feel overly pressured to go back to work when they may still be unfit. A recent study by Adecco Retail concluded – 53% of women and 36% of men felt pressured to go back to work and 78% of young workers (16-24 years old) and 30% of over 55’s also felt pressured. This could obviously affect productivity and may even worsen the employees health condition.

Low levels of absenteeism usually vow for a good safety culture and good management. Studies have shown that in companies where staff are offered flexible working hours, given the possibility to work from home and where the individuals needs are respected and taken into account, the sick absences are much lower, while the levels of productivity and profits are still among the highest.