I have a sniffle!!

From time to time people will get sick. Flu, coughs, colds and viruses have probably been causing chaos over the winter months. Unfortunately, this can’t be avoided as you grow your workforce and business. As an employer it is necessary that you manage your sickness policies and procedures correctly. You may soon realise sickness absence is damaging productivity and potentially your profits. Here are 4 top tips to make sure you are covered.

1). Create a clear policy – it should cover how and when staff should notify the business that they need time off, details of expected communication and return to work interviews. Policy isn’t worth anything if it isn’t clearly communicated. Ensure line managers/team leaders are onside and trained.

2). Understand the role of GPs – the sicknote is gone, replaced by the statement of fitness to work aka. fit note. Instead of being about what the member of staff can’t do its about what they can which will be very helpful when planning a return to work.

3). How will you support staff when they return -  if off for a lengthy amount of time or returning at less than 100% fitness, you need to ensure staff have the right support when they return. If not it could be daunting and cause further problems. Treat each case individually and always have good communication with employee. One way to ensure reintegration may be to offer phased return or reduced hours.

4). Be proactive not reactive – there are positive steps you can make in your business to promote physical and emotional wellbeing, this can be a better solution than waiting for a problem to appear then reacting to it. Few things such as health care or gym memberships, potentially change working hours so workers get more sleep or simply train management so they can spot problems like stress and react to fix them before it causes problems.