How to reduce sick days in your team

Reaching the stage where your small, purposeful business is made up of a team of people is something many entrepreneurs dream of. A group of passionate individuals can be the catalyst for growth, providing you with the skills to boost your business even further.

With today 4th February being National Sickie Day, we wanted to raise the issue of sick days within a team, and how you can manage them. For many small and medium enterprises, this can have a big impact on work flow, as well as future productivity.

Whether you’re working in a team, or are thinking about hiring your first team member, make sure to read on for our suggestions on how to create a positive workplace culture and reduce absenteeism from the start.

What are the most common reasons for sick days?

According to a report by the Office of National Statistics, the top five reasons that UK employees call in sick are:

  1. Coughs, colds and other minor illnesses (33.1%)

  2. Back pain, neck and upper limb problems and other musculoskeletal problems (18.6%)

  3. Accidents, food poisoning, and other illnesses (12.8%)

  4. Stress, depression and anxiety (7.7%)

  5. Gastrointestinal problems (6.6%)

Of course, not all of this can be avoided. However, that 7.7% - and the other sick days that are reported as illness when really they’re also to do with stress, depression and anxiety - can be fixed.

If your employees are avoiding work, they may be feeling demotivated, or experiencing work-related stress. Fortunately for you, there are ways to help get them back on track.

The cost of poor mental health in the UK

Workplace advice service ACAS reports that poor mental health is responsible for ‘91 million working days lost and costs over £30 billion each year to UK employers.’

For a small business, absences can be a serious strain on the rest of your team, and even set back projects entirely. It can cost you as an employer, but it may also be an indicator of an unhappy workplace culture.

If you’ve been affected by staff absences, or you’re worried that this may become a problem, you’re in the right place. Implementing a structure that enables you to check in with your team, open up communication channels, and provide adequate mental health support will not only reduce absences, but also improve productivity, trust, and staff retention.

How to talk about mental health at work

In order to implement a good workplace culture that promotes talk around mental health, it’s important to:

  • Improve your receptivity around stress, depression and anxiety

  • Open up communication channels that address mental health at work

This is something we can support you with. Our Calmer Workplace Training is tailored to your business needs, team size, and the problems that you would like to address.

We provide expert-led training programmes for teams on how to create a mentally healthy culture in the workplace, and will work with you to develop a wellbeing strategy and 1-2-1 mentoring for CEO’s, senior leaders and managers. Request a proposal pack for more information.