According to a New Zealand workplace survey, direct costs of absenteeism in 2014 amounted to $1.45 billion across the country.
The same study reports that average absenteeism has risen from 4.5 days since 2013, at an extra cost of $200 million. A common assumption is that the old-fashioned ‘sickie’ is to blame, but is there something more at play?
Recent research shows that 90% of sick days are the result of genuine illness, with colds, flu, headaches, gastro and mental health as the leading culprits. There is a common misconception that most employees take Mondays or Fridays as sick days to enjoy a long weekend.
However, facts show that Tuesdays are the most common day for unplanned absences from the workplace.
Regardless of whether sick days arise from genuine needs, the fact remains that absenteeism affects productivity to such a degree that staff absences should definitely be reduced. Generally, two main problems can be identified in sick workplaces:
- Health and wellbeing of employees is not prioritised
- Issues of workplace culture make employees reluctant to attend.
Health And Wellbeing of Employees
One of the recommendations for reducing absence days given to is for employers to try to make their workplace a healthier place for their staff. Simple measures such as ensuring best hygiene levels and encouraging healthy lifestyles can make an enormous difference.
Check out these links for some great advice:
- 5 steps to make your workplace colds and flu free
- Restroom facilities dictate your workplace hygiene levels
Fostering Positive Workplace Culture
A happy workplace is the one that employees attend with enthusiasm. High rates of absenteeism may sometimes point to generally disengaged employees. An analysis carried out by research firm Gallup, for example, revealed that disengaged employees have 27 percent higher rates of absenteeism than their peers.
Here are some of the ways to create a happy workplace:
- Take a genuine interest in employees’ work-life balance: encouraging a healthy work-balance goes a long way. If possible, introducing more flexible hours or the option of working from home will make employees more satisfied.
- Take a genuine interest in future career plans of your employees: providing constructive advice or mentoring may have a major impact on an employee’s attitude
- Foster friendship at work. Engaged employees are happy employees. Encourage a sense of community and friendship.
- Listen: this one may sound straightforward, but it’s harder than you think. Employees appreciate employers who can will not only hear, but really listen to them. Employers who listen are able to build relationships of trust and loyalty with their employees.
- Treat people with respect – it may seem too obvious, but employees who are treated with respect will treat their employers the same.
Workplace Health & Hygiene
Not only is a healthy and clean workplace beneficial for your employees, but your customers will also enjoy it. Alsco’s managed health and hygiene services provide a variety of useful, essential and stylish products and services including professional cleaning, hand sanitisers and cleansers, first aid supplies, and a wide range of washroom supplies including sanitary bins, soap dispensers and hand drying systems.
For more information, contact Alsco’s friendly representatives to help you.