A new report published by the ONS has revealed that 2.5 million people in the UK are off work due to chronic illnesses, with employee absence now at its highest rate since 2004.
The data is particularly pronounced in certain sectors such as the NHS, where staff sickness levels reached a record high, with the health service losing almost 75,000 staff to illness.
Adrian Lewis, Director of Activ People HR, said:
Employee absence is the biggest, non-recoverable cost to businesses, but alongside a reduction in company turnover, not having a solid absence management strategy could result in a drop in overall productivity, employee wellbeing and business operations. To stem the tide, organisations must find better ways to support staff with occupational health and have clear practices, policies and technology in place to get on top of managing absence.
Adrian Lewis, Director of Activ People HR
How absence management software can help
Absence management software can help businesses to reduce the impact of long-term illnesses on their workforce in several ways.
- It can help to track and monitor absences. This can help businesses to identify trends and patterns in absence, which can then be used to target interventions and support.
- It can help to automate tasks. This can free up time for HR professionals to focus on other areas, such as supporting employees and managing the return-to-work process.
- It can provide insights. Absence management software can provide businesses with insights into the factors that are driving absence, such as stress, mental health issues, and work-life balance. This information can then be used to implement targeted interventions to improve employee wellbeing and reduce absence.
By tracking and monitoring absences, automating tasks, and providing insights, businesses can identify and address the root causes of absence, improve employee wellbeing, and boost productivity.
In addition to using absence management software, businesses can also take the following steps to manage employee absences:
- Have clear policies and procedures in place. Employees should know what the expectations are regarding absence, and what will happen if they exceed those expectations.
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for absences to happen before taking action. Talk to employees about their health and wellbeing and offer support if needed.
- Be flexible. Be understanding of the reasons why employees may need to take time off and be willing to work with them to find a solution that works for everyone.
- Be positive. A positive attitude towards absence management can help to create a more supportive and understanding environment for employees.
By following these tips, businesses can help to create a workplace where employees feel comfortable taking time off when they need to, without having to worry about the impact on their job.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.