Why managing absence will be key post pandemic

New Employee Benefits Healthcare research[i] has revealed that just under half (41%) of employers has a strategy in place to manage employee absence, with this figure hardly changing over the past three years.

Interestingly though a further fifth say they are planning to introduce an absence management strategy, this represents a fall on the proportion that were planning to do so in previous years.

Responding to the research, Adrian Lewis, director at Activ Absence says he’s surprised that little has changed this year, despite Covid-19 presenting employers with many new challenges around managing absenteeism.

Adrian says, “2020 has been a difficult year for employers. Not only have they had to contend with lockdown and employees working from home, but also the effects this is having on people’s mental wellbeing. There are also employees that have been sick with Covid-19 or self-isolating, plus those now facing long-Covid with ongoing symptoms.

“The concern for many employers is a rising absenteeism bill as more employees have time off with Covid related issues, including those suffering mental health issues as result of the isolation of working at home, in addition to those that are sick for other reasons.

“Having a strategy in place for managing absenteeism should be a priority for all employers this year, especially since many workers are still working remotely which can make tracking and managing absence even harder.”

In May, the Mental Health Foundation and LinkedIn[ii] highlighted that almost three in five (58 per cent) HR managers feared losing staff to sick leave due to the mental health impacts of working in lockdown.

With the Government’s U-turn on workers returning to the office in September, Adrian Lewis says that this fear could become a reality for many companies.

Adrian says, “With no end of home working in sight for lots of employees, companies are potentially facing a rise in absenteeism as the effects on workers mental health takes its toll. We recommend that employers get a strategy in place for managing this effectively now. “One way to do this is by using absence management technology which works through the cloud. This tracks absence and ensures managers know instantly who is off. It also helps managers spot the signs of poor mental health by highlighting patterns of absence which could indicate something more serious.

“The system prompts return to work interviews so managers can privately discuss any issues with an employee, giving them the opportunity to offer extra support.  The system tracks other planned absence too such as holidays, meetings, self-isolation and study days. It is hugely beneficial for companies who still have many people working remotely.

“It enables managers to keep track of where everyone is during working hours, ensuring its business as usual even though people aren’t in the office. With remote working likely to become more  commonplace in the future even after the pandemic, now is the time for companies to implement a robust system to track and manage absence no matter where people are based.”

For more information on absence management software visit www.activabsence.co.uk

[i] https://employeebenefits.co.uk/41-of-organisations-have-a-strategy-to-manage-sickness-absence/

[ii] https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/news/articles/hr-managers-fear-rise-staff-absence-mental-ill-health-lockdown

Author: Editorial Team

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