Figures released recently from FirstCare highlighted that just over 5 million working days will be lost over December and January with coughs, colds and flus, as employee absence rates sore by up 125 per cent. The data also revealed that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the peak days for CCF absence.

Adrian Lewis, Absence Management Expert at Activ Absence says the next few months are peak season for sickness absence and companies really need to be on top of things now to ensure they have the right systems in place for managing this.

He comments, “Tackling and managing sickness absence is crucial for businesses to ensure productivity isn’t lost and clients or customers let down. Getting to the root causes of sickness absence is also important to be able to spot trends that might need addressing. For instance someone who keeps getting ill may be stressed and recognising this could help managers deal the reasons, if they are work related.”

One way companies can manage sickness absence better is using a strategic absence management system instead of paper based forms or spread sheets, which many companies still rely on. At a glance managers can know who is or is not and make contingency plans accordingly. 

A proper management system also allows companies to track absence due to holidays and flexible working as well, meaning they have a much better overview of where their staff are on any one day. Organisations with absence management systems can expect to see almost an immediate reduction in sickness absence as well of between 20 to 30 per cent, simply because there is a formal system for recording and managing it.

It is also easy to pick up patterns of sickness and intervene if necessary to find out why someone is having a lot of time off sick. This is reduced even further when supported by occupational health involvement, return to work interviews, improving employee engagement (and thus morale) and undertaking regular policy reviews. 

“With winter upon us companies not already using such systems need to look into this sooner rather than later, and with cloud based systems, which require minimal set up time and integrate easily it’s realistic to be able to get this done before the end of the year,” concludes Mr Lewis.

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