With studies suggesting that nearly 80% of workers ‘pulled a sickie’ in 2019, it’s sparked the question of what businesses are doing to manage staff absence this year. Alongside the usual return to work interviews and sickness policies, some have implemented a few unusual policies, like duvet days and free days off.
Take a look at some of the more unique policies we’ve come across.
Offer more holiday
Two thirds of UK businesses offer at least 25 days of paid annual leave per year, but for some employees that’s just not enough, and as a result, treat themselves to a few sickies here and there throughout the year.
In response, a number of businesses have incentivised high attendance with an increase in holiday allowance. It may sound inefficient and financially problematic, but it appears planned absence is much less disruptive.
Similar to the above, it’s not uncommon for businesses to incentivise non-absence with extra days off, gift vouchers and food-related gifts. With a few ground rules in place, such policies could prove quite effective, particularly in January and November when absence rates spike.
To many, encouraging a duvet day would contribute to higher absence rates, but for some businesses, such incentives have had the opposite effect. If employees are feeling a little worse for wear following a big weekend, or they’re simply feeling unmotivated, companies like August.One Communications and Text 100 have taken to ‘duvet days’ as a way to reduce the number of sick days taken.
Particularly if your industry is extremely competitive, this kind of incentive can draw potential staff to come and work for you.
Unsurprisingly, childcare is a major cause of staff absence in the UK. If an employee’s child falls ill, or their usual childcare arrangements fall through, parents may have to take a sick day to look after them.
To reduce this, businesses have started to offer childcare vouchers to combat unexpected absence.
As stress becomes the leading cause of absence amongst UK employees, counselling for stress and anxiety has become an invaluable incentive for any business. Whilst it certainly reduces absence in the long run, it can also reduce staff turnover and enhance a more engaged, happier workplace.
Monitoring absence is the single-most effective way for businesses to spot absence trends, address concerns and implement appropriate prevention schemes. By making staff members aware that a system is in place for managing absence, ‘pulling a sickie’ will soon become an action worth thinking twice about.
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