A recent survey has provided some interesting insights into employee behaviour when it comes to attendance. It shows that for some employees workplace culture can have a significant impact.
The research by IT firm Insight via a survey by Kantar of 1,250 people showed that:
- 26% of respondents have taken a sick day in the last year because going to work felt ‘too painful’ – for instance due to feeling overworked; systems, processes and technology making it too hard to get work done; or not liking the people at their workplace.
- 37% of respondents have come into work while sick in the past year. 13% of those came into work sick because they didn’t want to be judged by their employer and 9% came into work sick because they didn’t want to be judged by their co-workers.
Whilst the results may seem like bad news for employers, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of presenteeism and absence due to ‘workplace issues’ in your organisation.
Reducing the likelihood of presenteeism and absence
Here’s some top tips for steps you may wish to take:
- Set clear, measurable and attainable targets for employee performance. If employees understand what is expected of them and how their performance is being judged this can help to avoid employees feeling overwhelmed and becoming absent as a result.
- Monitor employee workloads – this will help you to identify whether workloads are at a manageable level and if they are not, to identify what actions need to be taken to remedy the situation. Nipping workload issues in the bud can prevent employees reaching the point where they start to think about needing time off to help them cope.
- Communicate with employees – if an employee is absent it’s important to find out the reason for this as it may be due to a wider workplace issue which requires action, such as a personality clash or frustration with their role. Carrying out return to work interviews with all employees who have been off sick provides a good opportunity to find out information about a sickness absence that you might not otherwise get from a self-certificate/fit note alone.
- Carry out a review – if you haven’t reviewed your systems, processes or technology for a while it’s worth doing to ensure what you currently have in place is effective.
- Create a workplace culture where employees don’t feel under pressure to attend work when they are too unwell to do so. Whilst presenteeism and absence may seem to be at either ends of the spectrum, they can both adversely affect an organisation as an employee who is present but unwell is unlikely to perform at their best. If an employee has a high level of absence, this can be addressed but it is important to take advice on the facts of your case to ensure that this is done in an appropriate way.
If you have an employment law matter you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd as we are happy to help.