According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), one of the top five causes of long-term absence is workplace stress, with minor illnesses, such as colds, flu and headaches being amongst short-term causes of absence. But how can you reduce staff sickness?
A healthy workplace is one in which employees can come together with management or HR personnel to come up with interventions that promote, protect and preserve the physical, as well as the mental, health and wellbeing of employees.
This will no doubt have a positive impact on sustainability and the financial health of the organisation.
Here are five tips to reduce staff sickness in your business:
(1) Create a light, clean environment and deal with any rodent issues quickly
Rodents are common in most buildings, but ensuring that they are out and stay out can have a huge impact on the wellbeing of your employees and reduce staff sickness. Rodents carry disease, and urinate as they walk, which makes it easier to transmit illnesses. Deal with these issues quickly, and provide a clean and safe environment for your team to work in.
(2) Promote regular health checks
Enable employees to talk about their health concerns. This is particularly important if that health concern impacts on their work duties or vice versa. This can be achieved by nominating a wellness champion who serves as the employee’s advocate. This is useful as most people find it hard to approach management and tend to just get on with the work.
Health issues that aren’t dealt with or addressed appropriately and timely can escalate and result in long periods of absenteeism. Good health begins with prevention, and that’s why regular health checks are pertinent to reduce staff sickness.
People end up going to the GP because there is a problem. However, if employers promote health checks in the workplace, these problems can be prevented or stopped from escalating.
(3) Give gym memberships
Giving free or subsidised gym memberships can help to increase the wellbeing of your staff substantially. It not only helps them to work out and stay fit, it also creates a good attitude to health, which in turn can promote healthy eating, and an all-round healthy lifestyle.
In addition, exercise is beneficial for maintaining a healthy immune system. Ways in which to build up a healthy immune system:
* Keep hands clean in the workplace.
* Avoid consuming alcohol in excess.
* Get six-eight hours of sleep.
* Include foods that are high in antioxidants in diet.
* Exercise regularly, or at least walk for 30 minutes per day, as recommended by the British Heart Foundation.
(4) Tackle stress in the workplace
According to HR Magazine, by 2020, depression will come right behind heart disease as the leading cause of disability resulting in long-term employee absence. Stress can have a serious impact on the physical as well as mental health of an individual.
Stress cannot be avoided as it is the body’s natural response to “excessive pressure”, as per The Health & Safety Executive. However, having intermittent stress awareness workshops, mental health champions in the workplace, and an open-door policy can help employees recognise, manage and communicate their stress and workload effectively.
(5) Provide healthier foods or snacks
Nutrition plays a huge part in an individual’s health and fitness to practice or perform tasks. Providing vending machines that dispense sugar laden snacks only contributes to the likelihood of staff developing chronic illnesses such as Type 2 Diabetes.
As most individuals do not have the time to prepare healthy meals for lunch at home, employers should consider providing healthy fruit bowls, a water dispenser and variety of vegetables in the workplace to reduce staff sickness.
As much as employers should provide a safe and healthy working environment, it’s just as important to encourage healthy lifestyles amongst employees. Employers can also consider running wellness days yearly, where different health professionals such as nutritionists can come in to advise employees on nutrition.
Abigail Morakinyo is founder of Health in Check
Health and wellbeing in business should not be underestimated by today’s leaders, for looking after staff can have profound benefits.