Where were you on Monday?


If you were in the office on Monday there is a good chance you felt a bit lonely. It is estimated that a record number of office workers phoned in sick on the day that is now commonly known as “National Sickie Day”. The mass workplace absence that occurs each year on the first Monday of February has been correlated with a combination of depressing February factors, including bad weather, the short days and the financial hangover from Christmas.

While most bosses give their employees the benefit of the doubt when it comes to short-term illness absence, unforeseen employee absence, especially when on a large scale, does come at a huge cost. On National Sickie Day, businesses across the UK are estimated to have lost £34million. In addition to lost productivity, there are less financially obvious repercussions of staff shortages, such as how it can considerably sap workplace energy and the number of admin hours some companies spend tracking employee absence.

For small to medium-sized companies, employee management tasks can be time-consuming and administration-heavy, with absence management being one of the most complicated. Evidence of this can be seen in a recent CIPD report, which found that employee absence costs businesses an estimated £595 per employee every year.

We all get the occasional cold or flu and need to take a day away from the office to get better (and to not infect the rest of the team!). However, to ensure your business runs as smoothly as possible, it is advisable as an employer or HR manager to regularly review short-term absences, to see whether there are any patterns to any employee’s absences (e.g. a collection of Fridays or absences grouped around bank holidays) so that these patterns can be addressed if necessary. It is also helpful to review absence histories as an indicator of whether absence patterns are improving or getting worse. This may enable further discussions with employees around possible underlying causes when patterns are unusual or the number of days taken is higher than average.

To reduce the cost of short-term absence, it is essential to have an efficient, reliable and inexpensive system in place to manage it. To help guide you in developing and managing an employee absence policy, we have created a free eBook that will get you on your way to better absence management.

In addition to information on how to handle sick days, the eBook covers the following topics:

  • Absence levels on the rise
  • Holiday entitlement
  • Short-term illness absence
  • Long-term illness or injury absence
  • Return-to-work plans
  • Bereavement absence
  • Maternity leave
  • Paternity leave
  • Designing your absence management policy

Download your free copy of our best practice guide to absence management here.

Image thanks to Pixabay