The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) recently released some alarming statistics. According to their survey of several hundred employers, the average employee took 7.8 days of sick leave during the past year. This figure marks a significant increase from 5.8 days reported in the last comparable survey in late 2019, and it’s the highest in records dating back to 2010.

As people deeply invested in the well-being of employees and the success of businesses, we believe it’s crucial to address this trend head-on. In this blog post, we provide factual insights and practical tips for employers on how to manage and limit the increasing challenge of sick days.

Understanding the Factors

Before we jump into the strategies, it’s essential to understand the factors contributing to the rise in sick days:

Mental Health: The ongoing pandemic has taken a toll on mental health worldwide. Employees may be experiencing increased stress and anxiety, leading to more sick days related to mental health issues.

Remote Work: While remote work has its benefits, it has also blurred the lines between work and personal life. Employees might feel overwhelmed, leading to burnout and more sick days.

Health and Safety Concerns: Employees may be more cautious about their health, taking sick days as a preventive measure when they experience mild symptoms.

Tips to Manage and Limit Sick Days

Flexible Work Arrangements:

Consider offering flexible work arrangements, such as hybrid models, to accommodate employees’ needs and reduce stress.

Mental Health Support: Invest in mental health programs, counseling services, and awareness campaigns to support employees’ emotional well-being.

Clear Sick Leave Policies: Ensure that your sick leave policies are transparent and well-communicated. Encourage employees to take sick days when necessary, emphasizing the importance of health.

Remote Work Guidelines: Establish clear guidelines for remote work, including setting boundaries and encouraging breaks to prevent burnout.

Vaccination Support: Promote vaccination awareness and, if possible discuss with your local Trust if you can support them, providing vaccination opportunities for employees to reduce the risk of illness.

Health and Safety Measures: Continue implementing and communicating health and safety measures to reassure employees and minimise illness transmission in the workplace.

Employee Engagement: Foster a sense of belonging and engagement among employees. Engaged employees are more likely to take ownership of their well-being.

Training and Development: Invest in employee development and training programs to enhance their skills and confidence, reducing workplace stress.

Health and Wellness Programs: Implement wellness programs that promote physical fitness and healthy lifestyles, reducing the risk of illness.

Regular Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with employees. Encourage them to report concerns or symptoms promptly.

The increase in sick days is a concerning trend that requires proactive and compassionate management. By understanding the underlying factors and adopting these practical strategies, employers can play a pivotal role in limiting the impact of this trend on their businesses.

Prioritising employee well-being, both physical and mental, is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic move towards a healthier and more productive workforce. The challenges of managing increased sick days are real, but with the right approach, we can create a workplace where employees feel supported, valued, and motivated to contribute their best.

It’s not just about saving costs; it’s about investing in your most valuable asset—your employees—for the long-term success and sustainability of your business.

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