Do you remember when you were on summer school vacation and it was time to go back to school or college? Many of us didn’t like the idea of going back and would come up with a variety of excuses and phantom stomach pains or an illness that our poor parents maybe convinced were too serious to risk going to school.
After a long absence away from work similar feelings exist with the added burden of not being in control, having much to catch up on in terms of knowledge, catching up on the latest news that has occurred in your absence, acceptance by colleagues on your return.
Your place of work should be a place where your health and wellbeing are supported and protected but more significantly somewhere that YOU take responsibility for your own health. While our Health and Safety records are in most cases second to none, absenteeism still remains a problem to businesses and in many instances is preventable.
In 2003/04 there were 609,000 new cases of workplace ill health:
Stress contributed 254,000 (42 per cent)
Musculoskeletal disorders204,000 (33 per cent).
This was out of a total 2.2 million new and existing cases.
In the same period – 29.8 million working days were lost to ill health. (Source: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/health-and-wellbeing.pdf)
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath addressing the Human Resources Director summit in 2006, suggested that the cost of sickness absence to the British economy is estimated at around £12 billion a year. “The workplace in the 21st century is a fast paced, dynamic and highly stimulating environment. It brings a number of benefits and opportunities, however, with these benefits comes new risks. Sickness absence and return to work policies are only worth having if they have the full support of directors and top-level managers. After all, leadership starts from the top.”
So where do YOU start? Well a good place might be communication through employee engagement, where an ‘honest’ employee survey would highlight issues such as:
Why a particular employee has been absent on a variety of dates and what has been done about it.
What are the most common ailments and health conditions that prevent employees from attending work?
What are the issues your workplace could improve on?
Is there awareness on the part of management as to why employees are absent, unhappy or sick?
Is the working environment conducive to high morale and a positive productive healthy environment?
Do employees know how to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing and are the opportunities available at their place of employment to do so?
To feel in vibrant health to work, whether it is from a company, institution, community, public sector or working from home, we all need to be nourished mind, body and soul. To reduce absenteeism, and allow employees to feel valued, increase productivity, increase staff retention and profit and your company profile collective action and responsibility is the first step.
For more help please contact:
Margaret at DeMontfort Healthy Living
Phone: 0800 902 0336
Gill Craik at Black Dog HR
Phone: 01280 817341 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org