4 Ways to Reduce Sickness Rates at Work

One of the main challenges human resource managers face is sickness absence. When many employees take sick leave, tasks have to be reassigned, or some projects need to be put on hold. The disruption in operations always has an impact on the productivity and profitability of a company. Therefore, it is in the best interest of an organization to find out the root cause of sickness absenteeism. Studies indicate that most absenteeism is due to minor illnesses like flu, migraines, and stomach upsets. That means if the company focuses on improving occupational health, days lost to sick leave will reduce drastically. Unfortunately, many organizations adopt punitive measures in dealing with absenteeism instead of determining the reason behind the increase in sickness rates. Here are four effective methods of reducing sickness rates at work:

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1. Maintain a healthy workplace

As earlier mentioned, many workers take sick days for short-term ailments. Unhygienic work environments can often cause illnesses. Therefore, employers should keep the workplace clean and ensure there is a constant supply of fresh air. Putting air conditioning systems in place can help to keep the air clean as well as at an appropriate temperature. It also helps to deal with unpleasant odors quickly to create a conducive working environment.

Apart from contagious diseases, employees can also suffer from back pains due to poor ergonomic conditions. In order to circumvent this, workplaces should have suitable furniture that provides sufficient backrest and adjustable height. The workspace design should also allow smooth movement to prevent accidents and injuries. A healthy work environment should also reduce stress levels caused by poor lighting and noise disturbance. Therefore, managers should ensure there are various lighting options with adjustable brightness available, while also providing quiet workspaces for employees.

2. Promote healthier lifestyles among employees

Fitness lowers stress levels and improves productivity. Therefore, promoting a healthy lifestyle among your employees is a guaranteed way to reduce sick days. How do you encourage your staff to stay healthy? You can start by giving free healthy lunches. It is the perfect way to promote healthy eating and improve productivity. Besides, who would say no to free lunch? 

You can also encourage exercising by subsidizing gym membership or providing coupons for workouts in the local gym. If you have adequate space and finances, you can invest in an in-house gym facility. Having a gym within the company building encourages exercising and a healthy lifestyle. With time, you will notice a reduction in sickness absenteeism.

3. Encourage a work-life balance

Employees need a balance between professional and personal life. Without the balance, their stress levels will increase, leading to absenteeism. To promote your staff’s wellbeing, you should create flexible working hours with breaks. Make sure employees do not skip lunch to complete tasks or do unnecessary overtime. Therefore, the upper management should lead by example by taking meal breaks and leaving at the right time. Annual leave should also be mandatory since working all year round increases stress and lowers productivity. 

A work-life balance can be achieved through flexible working hours. For instance, you should assign tasks according to the employees’ preferred working time. Some people are productive in the morning while others prefer working late into the evening. Those with kids can work from home or go to the office a few hours a week. Boosting flexibility reduces stress levels and illness by providing autonomy in work hours and tasks.

4. Talk with employees who are frequent absentees

If you have staff members who take sick leave frequently, you need to round them up and have a chat. When employees take sick days regularly, it interrupts work routines and reduces productivity. Therefore, you need to discuss their situation and find out the reason behind their absenteeism. Once you have the causes of the absence, you can look for solutions and help them become more productive at work. Employees should be encouraged to consult with a healthcare professional before any illness becomes too serious and requires time off. 

When discussing their absenteeism, empathize with them instead of using threatening language. This will encourage them to broach the subject in the future instead of taking a sick day without notice.

Illnesses are unavoidable, but companies can play an active role in reducing absenteeism. Employers should be at the forefront of lowering sickness rates at work by taking care of their employees.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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