Private health cover
It's where good business starts
Naturally, there are times when sickness isn’t preventable. However, often there are ways of managing health that can prevent employees from taking long absences.
According to Fit for Work, stress and mental health problems are two of the most common reasons for taking long term absence from work1. As an employer, there are things you can do to help manage this risk.
For example, look out for signs of stress in your employees. This can be difficult, as employees may try to mask this from employers, but things such as frequent colds or infections, seeming tired and lethargic or frequent complaints of tense muscles and pains, appearing less engaged and withdrawn, can be red flags. If you spot these signs, take an employee aside and check in on their wellbeing, ask if there’s anything relating to work that’s bothering them – negotiate with them and identify potential adjustments that could be made to support them but still fit with the business requirements – perhaps you can help spread the load a little more or be more flexible around working times.
Employers should be approachable, and employees should feel comfortable that their mental health issues will be taken as seriously as a physical condition. In addition, where possible, they should encourage a healthy lifestyle – simple things such as sports days and free gym memberships, or providing fruit in the office can help.
If a business is unfortunate enough to have an employee suffering from long-term sickness, employers should do what they can to help them return to work. This can mean making changes at your workplace to make it easier or more comfortable for them, or by enabling them to work more flexibly or remotely, if possible.
If they aren’t able to complete their own work but expect that they’ll be able to return to work eventually, you either have to ensure their work is covered by colleagues or take on a temporary employee to handle it.
A temporary role may be costly – you’ll have the recruitment costs and extra wages to consider. Depending on the size and culture of the business, it may be worth speaking openly to employees about whether they have the capacity to take on extra work.
If you do decide to spread the extra work around existing staff, keep in mind that this could increase stress for them, too. It’ll take some careful juggling, and you’ll need to keep a close eye out for anyone else showing signs of being over-worked or stressed.
You could also look into protecting your most important asset, your people, with business healthcare cover. This would ensure if sickness should occur they can get the treatment they need and be back to work quickly.