Increase in workplace absences and how to manage them?

According to a recent CIPD, companies have seen an increase in workplace absences over the last few years.

Image of sick leave request
‘’Employee absence can strike at any time, potentially leaving companies understaffed and unable to carry out their expected tasks. With the recent discovery that workplace absences have risen to an average of 7.8 days per person over the past year – according to CIPD’s report, it’s never been more important for companies to remain on top of staffing issues. With the cost of living and mental health issues the driving force behind short and long-term absences, also revealed in CIPD’s work report, having a backup plan in place can help maintain daily operations and prove extremely useful to businesses.‘’Preventing workplace absences is impossible, however, being well-prepared to handle them when they do occur is crucial for maintaining productivity and a positive working environment. Many things can be put in place to help reduce absenteeism, including flexible working arrangements – offering flexible hours can allow workers to balance work and personal needs, reducing the likelihood of unplanned absences.‘’Furthermore, companies should also keep a clear line of communication with workers, by better understanding their situations, companies can help spot factors that could lead to absences such as mental health. World Mental Health Day takes place on the 10th of October, offering companies the perfect opportunity to promote communication and wellness in the workplace.

Related reading to support World Mental Health Day – 10 October 2023

‘’Overall, it’s vital for companies to have a short-term solution to staffing issues caused by unplanned absences. We know that these absences can be unexpected, therefore, having a Plan B in place allowing immediate access to replacements can be crucial – Our matching algorithm does exactly that, finding suitable, flexible workers for companies across a wide range of industries in seconds.‘'The key is for companies to integrate flexible shifts or external flexible workers into their workforce planning on an ongoing basis, building up over time a high-performing pool of 'favourites' (flexible workers) who know the internal processes and procedures and can add real value when needed. It's similar to the fire brigade, which trains for emergencies throughout the year so that when the time comes, everything runs smoothly. It is an illusion to simply try to find people quickly on the day when part of the team is out of action. Yes, people will be found. Even qualified ones. However, there is a difference between that and a performing pool of favourites. That is the real Plan B, which requires proactive, flexible people management.‘’Companies need to think about how to integrate temporary work into their processes together with a reliable staffing partner. This works best when temporary work is seen as a long-term investment. However, a strategic rethink is required.’’

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