Managing staff who are ill

With the recent figures showing that out of 1000 surveyed companies, 86% of observed staff attended work ill, demonstrating the importance of ensuring employees are firstly, well enough to work productively, but secondly are happy to come into work.


As a manager, CEO or team leader, overlooking employee health is vital and as staff return from illness absences’, it should be within your best interest to ensure they are healthy enough to work at their best. If an employee looks tired and bothered it can reflect around the workplace giving off a negative vibe.



Giddeon Schulman is the HR Director at Pytronot shares his steps to ensure your employees are taken care of whilst ill.


Put the employees interests first


If an employee attends work ill, start by putting their interests above yours. Firstly, it is important to be aware of how bad the illness is. Even though as a business owner it can have a detrimental effect on the running of the company, if someone is too ill to be in work and is at risk of making illness worse and doctors have advised they rest, then send them home so they can recover properly. Being ill is only natural and everyone goes through these stages, so follow that one true golden rule and ‘treat your employees how you would like to be treated’. Simple changes if someone is working whilst ill, would be like moving the employee elsewhere to avoid the illness spreading for their own comfort or putting them nearer a window so they are able to get as much fresh air as possible can be beneficial to both them and others. These small steps can have a big impact and demonstrate that the employee knows you care about their health.


Allow for extra breaks


If an employee has made the effort to come into work whilst ill, recognise their efforts by offering frequent short breaks and refreshments. On many occasions taking a five-minute break can be long enough to recharge the batteries, regaining the concentration levels needed to be productive again. However, it is crucial to be consistent with this procedure. If staff are heavily ill, offer them the same treatment as a previous ill member. This will show your team that they are all treated as equals. This also ties into the role of checking up on employees. A quick ‘How are you feeling?’ will make team members feel appreciated and wanted. The assumption that bosses only care for themselves can instantly be thrown out the window and adds to the appeal of working for your company.


Provide a reason to come into work


The ultimate goal for an employee is to want to come into work, no matter how they’re feeling. Although this can take time, as a manager it’s important to give out praise when it’s due, reassuring your staff are wanted. If this is repeated frequently, staff will look forward to coming into work. The thing to note here is that it costs nothing to make an employee feel on top of the world. Not only will this help individual morale, but the overall office moral. Team spirit will be strong and in conjunction provide a happy working environment.


Giving less to get more done


There’s no doubt that productivity can drop in the workplace with an ill member of staff. A heavy workload can add to the already occurring problem of stress and often demotivate the employee. As a manager, don’t be afraid to reduce a staff’s workload to help them throughout the day. Productivity levels will begin to rise as employees are no longer swarmed with work on their desks. It’s important to slowly build up the work as they begin to get better, avoiding too big a leap.


Using HR Specialists


For many businesses, having the support of an HR specialist can take away the stress when coping with everyday issues. Whether you’re a small company or large, problems will always arise and having a specialist help guide you through the problem can be incredibly effective.

Author: Editorial Team

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