With the colder weather, often comes more staff absences. December, January and February are renowned for increasing levels of absence within companies. But why is this? Many people are struck down by the flu or a cold and stay at home to avoid spreading it round the office. This year, most of us have become more accustomed to regular hand washing, hand gel and wiping down surfaces, however this is essential to keep all winter germs at bay – not just Covid-19! You must have hand sanitiser available to all employees, which will ensure they are disinfecting their hands in-between washes. Additionally, you can promote healthy living, maybe through offering a virtual yoga or mindfulness session or creating a step count challenge for teams to compete in; this could also raise morale and create a fun challenge.
How does wellbeing link with absence?
Winter months can be difficult for many people, the dark mornings and early sunsets can mean that many people don’t see the light of day at all from Monday to Friday, unless they find time for a lunchtime walk. This can lead to people struggling with their mental health, it is crucial that you check in with your employees and offer any support you have available. Some people may be absent from work as they are finding it difficult to go about their day as they usually would. Furthermore, often people feel stressed in the run up to Christmas with the extra pressure the season brings, both socially and financially. Consequently, people may suffer from stress, exhaustion and anxiety which may result in them taking extra time off. A way to combat this could be to provide stress management and resilience training. If employees feel supported, they will be more likely to share how they are feeling, and their stress or anxiety could be managed together.
Absence and remote working
For many organisations, absences have declined since remote working has gained popularity through the pandemic. This is due to the fact that, with many individuals working from home, they perhaps don’t stay off work with things like the common cold as they can crank up the heating and wear more comfortable clothes than maybe they would in the office – also germs would not be spreading throughout their colleagues. However, people may be absent from work for mental health issues, if this is the case they should be supported in the right way and have regular communication with their line manager to see what methods can be put in place to help them.