Absence figures masking the real problem?

VV 30 June 2

In a large proportion of firms – one-man start-ups excepted – employees play a vital role in generating output and driving revenue for the business.

They are the people on the front line, whether this is the factory floor, the front-of-house shop or the customer services centre.

Clearly the efforts they make on a daily basis are invaluable when it comes to generating profits and laying the foundation for business growth.

As such, recent figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), pointing to fall in absence levels among UK businesses, should surely be positive.

The HR body found that UK workers took an average of 6.8 days sick leave in the last year, down from 7.7 in 2010-11 – which should surely point to a rise in productivity.

But as CIPD points out, this apparent ‘good news’ may mask a number of problems – including increased workplace stress, mental health issues and ‘presenteeism’.

The body found that more employees are coming into work when they are ill – amid concerns over a lack of jobs security – serving little purpose other than to spread their germs around the rest of the workforce.

Employees may be turning up for work, but there is nothing to say they are being productive when they get there. And that is the crux of the matter.

While employee absence can hit companies on the bottom line, sometimes a day off – where workers are genuinely ill – can have positive benefits.

As employers, we aspire to achieve 100 per cent attendance at work. But employees need to be fit to do the job, both mentally and physically.

Coming in to work with flu is likely to have three results – more mistakes, a longer recuperation period and more of their co-workers phoning in sick in the days to come.


Posted by the Secret Businessman