Tackling Absenteeism

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Absenteeism is a big subject. It covers such a wide area of the employee spectrum that approaching it as an employer is difficult. Knowing where the right starting block is for you in looking for help to improve your employee’s health and wellbeing can be challenging. Health Shield offers you a range of solutions.

Although nearly 9 in 10 organisations recognise that absence negatively affects their business, 30% of respondents do not measure their level of sickness absence.

It costs your business money, there is no disputing that. Our research tells us it’s more than £12.8 billion per annum in wages alone, and many more HR departments are now being tasked with engaging with employees and keeping their absence rates as low as possible. However, it’s not all down to you – that’s one thing you will need to accept; as a business you can’t control everything that impacts your employees’ health and wellbeing. What you can do is guide them in a positive direction with opportunities. It’s starting to catch on too – 4 in 10 employers have looked for a product that supports them with their wellbeing within the last 12 months.

Wellness strategies are a great place to start. This is where you can influence your employees to have a healthier lifestyle. A wellness strategy is highly linked with productivity. This can extend to mindfulness sessions and even simple workplace health tests. Having something in place before you try experimenting with different methods of wellness saves your company money in the long run.

Having an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in place is an ideal way to engage employees with talking about their health and managing the issues they face. Reasons for employee absence and productivity range between everything from personal problems, family, relationship and work related issues. An EAP offers them a service to get confidential advice on these issues and assist them with coping and even eradicating the problem. After all, some feel pressured to return to work too soon so helping them in the right way might relieve this pressure.

As an employer it is your responsibility to act on any problems that occur as a result of work whether that’s related to day to day tasks, physical injuries, work-life balance, stress, work environment or any consequences of these issues. Health Shield offer a bespoke service to identify your employee’s needs. Via Health Shield’s Occupational Health Programme you get access to a range of health checks and services to help employers comply with health and safety legislation by providing a safe and healthy working environment. This product will help you fulfil your duty of care and have a positive impact on your absence levels.

This health programme is complimented by an Occupational Health Management Referral Service should an employee need further support. The tests provided by these programmes can review their risk of musculoskeletal problems, the most common reason for staff absence. By having your employee workplace assessed you can help prevent any musculoskeletal problems arising.

However, it’s not all about helping your employees remain in work, what if they are already off and need support in returning to work? It can be a difficult time, so ensure you are creating a stress free, calm environment where they feel comfortable. You’ll assist your employees returning to work, those struggling to and those who just need to know they have the option to step back. You might want to provide ‘free time areas’ where they can spend 5 minutes away from their desks, or take part in mindfulness sessions.

You will need to learn what your company wants to provide, and what means the most to your employees – you’ll need their buy in to make it work and see the effects on your absenteeism rates. Keep them motivated and engaged and see results.

Absenteeism is largely dependent on how you work with your employees, and the relationship you build with them. And whilst it carries a heavy cost if it goes against you, when you work with it can be highly beneficial.



YouGov; February 2017





Health Shield, Exploring Wellbeing Needs in the Workplace; 2017

MIND Workplace Wellbeing Index

Employee Benefits Healthcare Research in association with Health Shield; September 2017

Health Shield Insights, Employee Wellbeing Tools Research, Conducted by REBA, 2017