We’ve all been there. It’s 7am in the morning, the alarms going off, and the thought of going to work is filling you with dread. 

This can happen to anyone, even if you love your job. Sometimes things can just get a bit too much and all you want to do is spend the day in bed recuperating. 

You could be really ill, burnout or just not in the mood. Either way, absenteeism is a real problem for businesses and can cost UK employers up to 45 billion each year

Some sickness can’t be avoided, the recent pandemic has highlighted that fact. But when staff are taking sick days to recuperate from burnout and stress, HR teams really need to step in to solve these absences. 

No single day puts these issues under the spotlight better than ‘national sickie day’. National sickie day falls on the first Monday of February and is statistically the day when most UK employees call in sick from work. 

The reasons for calling in sick on this day vary but it’s really important that HR teams take this day seriously. In this article we’ll look at the facts behind absenteeism in the workplace and share some tips HR teams can use to minimise the effects sick days have on their workplace. 

The facts behind sick days 

Research conducted by O.C Tanner during the first lockdown showed that UK workers took 68% more days off than normal in order to avoid work. Furthermore, over half (53%) dreaded going into work all together. In addition to that almost half (48%) said they had nothing else to give their job. These figures don’t make for good reading.   

Robert Ordever the managing director of O.C Tanner Europe said these statistics are all key indicators of burnout. He went on to say that it’s now more important than ever for companies to support their workers and help them alleviate the negative effects of burnout.

One key way he said we could do this is by scrapping the whole notion of national sickie day altogether. Days like national sickie day trivialise the seriousness of absenteeism and relegate a serious UK wide issue to something of a gimmick. 

Whether you feel days like national sickie day are a gimmick or not you cannot deny the far reaching impact sick leave has on your company. In the next section we’ll share some tips HR teams can use to reduce the negative impact absenteeism has on their business.  

What can HR teams do to reduce the impact absenteeism is having on their businesses 

Thankfully there’s plenty of things HR teams can do to improve absenteeism rates in their companies. We’ve listed a few tactics to use below.  

Put your employees first

It sounds simple, but nothing will show your staff they’re valued like putting them before the profits of your business. The pandemic has stressed the importance of genuine care in the workplace and those businesses that have taken a laissez-faire attitude to employee happiness during the pandemic are feeling the repercussions now. 

Happier staff mean fewer absences and less turnover. Putting people first is no longer a “nice to have” but a must have. 

Champion your company’s values and mission 

A clear and easy to understand company mission is a great goal that everyone in your business can get behind. It can help foster collaboration, camaraderie and teamwork in your business. 

A clear mission and company values also tells your staff why they’re working. People are more engaged in a business when they can see the bigger picture they’re working towards. 

Be kind and humane to your employees

In the 21st century employees value kindness and compassion. The day of the overbearing boss is largely over. People won’t stick around in your business if there’s a toxic atmosphere. A lack of compassion in the workplace can also lead to stress, anxiety and more absenteeism, so cultivating a supportive and kind atmosphere in your office is a must.   

Be fair with your teams 

Favouritism in the workplace is a sure fire way to cultivate resentment in your staff. So be fair with everything from pay and reward, development opportunities and holiday requests. Preferencing one team or employee over another can lead to stress, anxiety and people dreading their trips into work. This can lead to more sick days taken and less profits for your business.  

Do you need advice regarding employee absenteeism?

If you need help with your employee absenteeism, Phase 3 can help. We’re HR specialists and can advise HR teams on everything from HR technology, processes and building a positive workplace culture. If you feel like you’d benefit from a chat with us you can contact us here.