Employee sickness accounted for a staggering average loss of 35.6 productive days per employee per year in 2018.

In monetary terms, sickness related absences cost the UK economy more than £75 billion in lost productivity last year, and that number continues to rise year upon year. How much is sickness costing you?

Therefore, with so much at stake, it’s important for companies to proactively manage their sick employees, in a manner that’s reasonable and fair.

There are several ways in which you can achieve this outcome.

Create a Written Sickness Absence Policy and Train Staff on Expectations

Most workplaces have a standard absence sick policy, but many employees do not know the exact wording of the policy and often don’t know where they stand when illness strikes.

Take the time to create a document that lays out in plain terms the expected standards of attendance, and reporting requirements when suffering from sickness. It should also include items such as: your sick pay policy, required evidence of sickness, and reporting procedures.

The next phase is to spend time with staff making sure they understand the document and how to follow the correct procedures when they experience sickness symptoms. This will reduce administration costs and will ensure a smoother running of the system.

Monitor Employee Absenteeism

Reccurring sickness absences can cause workplace issues. This is particularly the case for for small businesses, as it interrupts the flow of day-to-day operations which has a knock-on effect on workplace wellness.

By monitoring sickness absences, you can accurately spot patterns or trends. It may be the case that sickness levels increase during school holidays or peak during the cold winter months.

By analysing the data, you can spot problematic patterns and hold meetings with staff to delve into the reasons behind their foreseeable absences.

Stay in Contact with Sick Staff Members

When one of your employees is off work sick, it is a good idea to stay in contact with them to monitor their recovery progress and likely return dates. This allows you to plan business operations in line with their condition.

It’s vital to strike the right balance of contact so as not to harass your employee, but maintain enough contact to know if they condition is progressing or deteriorating.

It is also a good practice from an employer’s perspective to show that you genuinely care about their wellbeing, which can increase loyalty, engagement and productivity upon their return. 

Conduct Return to Work Interviews

Return to work interviews are a good practice for any employer as it allows you to gain qualitative data on employee absences.

This is particularly the case for frequent absentees who can be so disruptive to the workplace.

Conducting these interviews will allow you to get to the bottom of any underlying issues behind the absences, and help can be arranged to combat them moving forwards.    

For example, an employee may frequently take sick days in order to help cope with workplace stress. By conducting an interview upon each return to work, you can uncover this issue and refer them to stress management specialists to help get them back on track.

Be Proactive with Your Sickness Management

At DocHQ we can provide sickness management as part of your employee benefits package.

You can monitor workplace sickness trends and take the hassle out of sickness admin by having sick notes instantly delivered to relevant human resources personnel.

What is more, we can arrange office GP visits to prevent presenteeism, and have employee prescriptions delivered to your workplace.  

If you would like to learn more about our packages and services, contact us at DocHQ.

DocHQ Ltd is a Health Tech company improving choices. We help you connect efficiently to health support and advice whether you are at home, work or travelling. See our website for our services or call us on 0330 088 0645.