The Flu Season is here! How to reduce absenteeism…

It’s estimated that every sick day costs businesses an average of $385 and one in 40 people do it daily in Australia.

With the flu season fast approaching, employers need to act now to reduce the impact of absenteeism on productivity and business profitability.

While the cost of absenteeism can leave your bottom line feeling under the weather, the good news is that positive and proactive management of absenteeism usually results in at least a 20% reduction in absences according to DHS –saving small-medium businesses thousands of dollars in improved productivity.

Recruitment Coach’s simple tips for reducing absenteeism during flu season:

1.    Consider flexible working arrangements for sick employees

Employees often still try to come into work when sick, not wanting to miss deadlines or work commitments. However, their enthusiasm and ambition can leave businesses with an even bigger loss of productivity, due to the risks of spreading illness and further increasing sick leave for other staff.

Flexible working arrangements can provide the answer for ambitious employees, providing them with an opportunity to keep working from home instead of coming into the office.

Consider introducing temporary flexible work arrangements for positions that can work remotely by allowing employees in those roles to nominate themselves for remote working when unwell.

2.    Develop and communicate a clear, easy-to-understand absenteeism policy

By developing and communicating a consistent and fair approach to absence, each employee will have a clear understanding of what options they have and what is required of them when they’re unwell.

The policy should apply to everyone, no matter their position, and detail how staff are to notify the business of their illness, as well as including leave guidelines and flexible working options (if available) and any requirements regarding medical certificates.

Reduce the risk of enthusiastic but flu-carrying employees spreading illness by educating your staff on what conditions may require them to stay home (such as flu-like symptoms).

If worst comes to worst and employees who are clearly ill show up, consider having a policy to send them home to reduce the impact on your business.

3.    Prevention is the best cure

The effects of absenteeism are usually felt more in small-medium businesses, with less people on call to pick up the extra work.

Prevention can be the best cure for reducing absenteeism – simple health/wellbeing programs that encourage staff to eat better or exercise more are perfect for both reducing absenteeism and for improving staff retention and satisfaction! In the lead-up to flu season, sponsoring employee flu vaccinations could end up saving your business considerable time and money further down the track.

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