In large offices, it isn’t unusual if there is at least one employee phoning in sick almost every day. It is to be expected when so many people are sharing the same space; not everyone takes much care to ensure they don’t pick up a tummy bug or cold. Of course, as a business you can only try to remind employees to do that – signage telling people how they can wash their hands can easily get ignored though. However, just because you expect people to get a minor illness, it doesn’t mean you should mark down the details without a second thought. It’s time to start monitoring staff sickness more effectively.
Is there a Pattern?
Whether you record each absence yourself or have employee self service benefits where they can do it themselves, you should go back in time to pull out all of the illness dates for each employee to see if there are any patterns. It is sometimes quite a surprise when you realise how many days people have taken off over the course of the year, and it also interesting to see what days of the week they fall on. For example, the media industry in Manchester is notorious for extravagant Thursday evenings where many go out and enjoy themselves a bit too much – a run of absences on a Friday can therefore look quite suspicious.
Do you need to Create New Rules?
Staff sickness policies are something to turn your attention to. It may be hard to spot a repeat offender unless you use software and the strategy mentioned above, but you can try and curtail some absences by making the rules obvious to staff. State that phone calls must be made to a manager of HR individual by a certain time in the morning (commonly nine o’clock) and absences that last longer than a day will need a doctor’s note or a return to work form and meeting. By putting in these barriers, you can dissuade some people from taking the risk of pulling a sick day when they are really fit and well.
Use Technology to your Advantage
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to monitor employee absences better is to invest in software that will have all of the key information in one place. Having something to generate reports and graphs can make your life a lot easier, and you will quickly be able to tell if there is an ongoing problem in your office. If you are looking for further evidence of particular members of staff and their recorded illnesses, you could also make use of public information published on social media websites. If someone has called in ill but you see on their Facebook or Twitter that they are at a festival or have taken a day trip somewhere, it might be all the proof you need to hold a disciplinary procedure on their return.
It makes financial sense to crackdown on the absenteeism of the employees in a business as productivity decreases when they aren’t present to handle their share of responsibilities. Perhaps your next step should be to sit down with key stakeholders in the business and figure out what changes you can implement to achieve the desired result.