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Staff absenteeism has been called the “bottom line killer”.  This is borne out by figures from the Centre of Economic and Business Research highlights that workplace absence is costing the UK economy £18bn in lost productivity.

As commonly reported, the two biggest causes of working days lost are work-related stress and musculoskeletal disorders.  But it doesn’t end there. Workplace injuries amounted to 5.5 million working days lost in the last reported year (2016/17) with slips, trips or falls the cause of 29% of those and lifting/handling coming in at a close second with 22%.

What positive actions can companies take to reduce absenteeism?  We’ve put together a list of 4 good practices to implement:

1. Risk Assessments

Risk Assessments are a legal requirement.
Just seeing Risk Assessments as a mandatory drudge is wasting an opportunity.

Analysing your internal processes to identify potential risk can lead to efficiencies and improved productivity and highlight to your staff how much you value them and their safety.

Evidence of good Risk Assessment can also have a positive effect on your insurance premiums.

2. Training

Identifying potential hazards in a Risk Assessment is no good unless you couple that with effective training.  Everyone in the company should receive Health & Safety awareness training equivalent to Level 1 as part of their induction, with following training completed commensurate to their role.

Incorporating Health and Safety reminders and developments into regular team meetings will ensure the subject top of mind as well show how importantly you view it.

3. Company culture

Analysing the DNA of any successful business will show how important having the right company culture is.

This culture derived from the company’s mission statement will make each individual staff member feel valued and comfortable talking about factors that may affect their potential productivity. 

The right kind of culture is also needed to support employees’ suffering from mental health problems, in support of No.4. It is thought that 95% of employees who call in sick with stress give a different reason, which shows that the subject remains hard to talk about in the workplace. By introducing a comfortable culture, free from stigmatism, your employees may be able to talk about their problems, addressing them early-on and preventing long-term sickness.

4. Health & Safety champions

Every company should have a Responsible Person to implement good Health & Safety practices.
If you this person isn’t demonised as a job worth with a clipboard but rather an empowered colleague who cares and has a vested interested in safety in the workplace means that communication between the team improves and any potential hazards or improvements can get reported back and acted upon.

By implementing these points, you will not only be upholding your legal requirements but also proving to your team that you care about them.  In addition, by regular review, a company culture that promotes open communication you may be able identify efficiencies within your business, reduce direct costs, reduce absenteeism and thus increase your bottom line figure.

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