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Strategies for Minimizing Sickness Absences in Your Business

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Although every manager wants 100% attendance in their company, for most this is an unlikely dream.

Managing absences is an unfortunate fact of business - projects have to be put off, other employees have to take on the extra work, and calendars get thrown into disarray as everything gets thrown into disarray. Both one-off sick days and long-term illnesses can lead to problems at any time.

Luckily, we know a lot about absenteeism in the workplace (you'd think so, considering we develop sick time tracking software) and have found a few ways to reduce sick leave in your office without that the employees are doing poorly. Here are some of our favorite tips.

The work environment

Five days a week, you and your employees come to the same place and sit just a few meters apart. A space that promotes health and well-being is critical for your employees and your business. Important things to keep in mind are:

The office layout

While open-plan offices have their advantages, the associated noise levels can lead to headaches, distractions and even increased stress levels. If some employees can work better without background noise, why not make part of the office a quiet area that they can enjoy? Bright lights can also cause problems, so consider purchasing desk lamps so employees can control the light in their area.


Back pain, shoulder pain and repetitive strain injuries are just a few of the problems that cost companies millions of lost workdays each year. A desk ergonomics audit and regular examinations by an occupational health professional are a good idea to ensure that all employees are working in optimal conditions.

Standing desks can also help you work more comfortably, and you can buy kits that allow you to convert regular desks into standing desks - at relatively low prices. Other aids that can help relieve strain on the muscles include wrist supports and foot supports.

Air, temperature and water

We've all been there: an office that's too hot in summer and too cold in winter. While it's important to keep an eye on energy costs, the last thing you want is for your employees to feel too uncomfortable to concentrate. Maintain a comfortable room temperature year-round and encourage your employees to drink as much water as possible to stay hydrated.

Compliance with health and safety regulations

It's important to get health and safety regulations right the first time. Where appropriate, ensure that all employees have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and know how to operate machines safely and efficiently.

Flexible work and remote work

If 2020 has shown us anything, it's that remote work works. Not only does it offer workers flexibility to set their own schedule, but it also saves them from the time of commuting, which can often contribute to poor mental health. While this isn't suitable for everyone, if a job only requires a laptop and an internet connection, it's worth considering as a long-term measure to prevent absenteeism.

Often an employee can work from home, but is too uncomfortable to commute three hours a day while sitting at a desk coughing and sneezing for eight hours a day. A flexible approach to sick days like this can benefit your company in the long run. It opens a dialogue about wellness and physical health and shows your employees that you trust them to do their jobs, no matter where they are.

This allows your employee to recover from the comfort of their own home without the risk of spreading viruses to other employees in the office.

Giving your employees the option to start later to avoid a stressful commute or to fit work around school schedules can reduce the need for stress-related leave and family emergencies. You should consider whether you need your employees in the office at fixed times every day or whether you can take a more flexible approach. You may find that it doesn't matter where or how they work, as long as they get the job done.

Culture fit - the right people in the right workplace

It all starts with hiring the right people.

Some are comfortable in a high-pressure environment, while others prefer a slower pace. Every person has different social preferences. While introverts can be the life of a party, they also need time alone to unwind. So when you hire introverts, do you give them the space to relax? If not, their satisfaction and productivity may decline over time. The same applies to extroverted employees: Do they become restless in an office that is too quiet?

It's also worth asking this question:

  • Are your employees being sufficiently challenged?
  • Are their career goals aligned with those of the company?
  • Is the social environment right?

Any of these points can cause friction if not addressed properly. Dissatisfaction and lack of motivation increase the likelihood that employees will take additional time off or could even lead to them wanting to leave the company.

Supporting mental health in the workplace

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and sometimes it needs a little time and space to recover.

Fortunately, progress is being made in this area and companies are recognizing the impact this has on their bottom line.

The CIPD's People Managers' Guide to Mental Health is an excellent introduction to this important area. This guide states:

"A Mind survey found that one in ten workers rate their current mental health as poor or very poor. Of these, 26% said this was due to problems at work and a further half said it was due to a combination of problems at work and outside of work; 40% said they took time off because of this. We found that employers have started to do something about mental health, but only 49% of them Employees feel their employer supports their mental health - so there is still work to be done."

The report suggests a number of ways managers can support their employees, track absenteeism and deal with it fairly and effectively. It is worth taking a look at the report for every manager.

We hope you found this report useful. Further advice on reducing non-sickness absence can be found here. Send us a tweet if there's anything else you'd like to know.

Prioritizing employee health, fostering a supportive culture, and implementing flexible work options can significantly reduce absenteeism, boosting productivity. Explore more solutions with IceHrm.

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