Employee Wellbeing And Absenteeism At Work

by Kylee Stone Aug 19,2021

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

The workplace has proven to cause a heavy impact on employees’ health and wellbeing. Causes can derive from physical factors like incorrect manual handling to psychological ones like work-related stress. Collectively, they can build up to high levels of sick leave and absence.

Concentrating on your employee’s health and wellbeing can exponentially improve morale and attendance.

You should treat health and wellbeing as a vital factor in your company, whilst hosting a safe working environment. All of which can ensure your employee feel comfortable and confident as members of your business.

Absence rates and occupational health

The ONS reported absence related to sickness decreased by 1.8% in 2020. Which is the lowest rate reported since 1995.

But, according to HSE, it’s estimated that 38.8 million working days were lost because of work-related ill-health and non-fatal work accidents.

High numbers like these can add up to great business losses. Lost workdays, due to illness and injuries, snowball into lost time, resources, and productivity.

One of the biggest responsibilities you have is to look after the welfare of your employee. Without this, your workers will drop out of the business faster than you can anticipate. 

Also Read: Embracing Hybrid Work Culture In 2021

Of course, it’s impossible for a workplace to be completely absent-free. But having a healthy approach for dealing with absences is a must – for the employer and employees.

Employees who are fit for work will produce and perform more efficiently. So, if they are healthy (physically and mentally), you’ll benefit from having a more resilient workforce.

Causes of sick leave

The implications on employee wellbeing and business productivity can cost a business more than what you might foresee.

Absences due to physical and mental illnesses can derive from all sorts of reasons.

Keep awareness and sensitivity for all kinds of absence issues. Remember, an employee may not exude physical illness. But they could be suffering mental strains, like depression or anxiety.

Employers themselves can be found guilty of direct inflictions, which lead to ill health. Common scenarios like this that can ruin employee engagement are:

  • Setting unrealistic targets and deadlines.
  • Being subconsciously biased.
  • Constantly highlighting mistakes.
  • Creating a negative atmosphere.

Take a positive and proactive approach to employee wellbeing. You’ll soon see a reduction in absence numbers. Concentrating on employee engagement is also a must. You’ll soon see it return as genuine commitment and loyalty to your business. 

How can your business benefit from positive employee wellbeing?

If you were to calculate costs that derive from poor employee health, you’ll easily see the impact on your business. Sick leave, lost hours, employee turnover – the effects will add up daily and in the long run.

Workplace health and wellbeing initiatives can reduce absence costs, alongside:

  • Sick leave and absence.
  • Performance issues.
  • Employee turnover.
  • Recruitment and training fees.
  • Health and wellbeing.
  • Liability and litigation risks.

If you establish these, you can easily display your business as a place of prosperity and growth. 

Also Read: Understanding Employee Wellbeing In 2021

Creating a healthy and safe work environment

Being able to spot and determine the mood of the workspace can prove beneficial for you. It’s easily done by using wellbeing trackers and charts. These can help outline your employees’ conditions – daily and in the future.

Having initial objectives that support your business can significantly improve:

  • Employee health and wellbeing.
  • Performance and engagement.
  • Individual and team efforts.
  • Productivity and motivation.
  • Brand-name and image.
  • Customer service.

We are living in a world where flexible working is fast becoming the norm. So, make sure remote workers are protected and safe as they work in isolation or off-location.

Promoting wellbeing

You and your management should openly encourage promoting wellbeing at work. It’s vital you present a clear message for the awareness of employee health and wellbeing.

This can be initiated through smaller gestures, like not answering emails after work hours, or taking lunch breaks daily.

Having open wellbeing conversations can show your employee who they should contact for help. This is crucial for those who are unconfident in raising issues, or those who are suffering alone.

Train your line managers to manage cases empathetically, especially for mental health issues. Keep promoting dialogue, feedback, and engagement – you’ll significantly boost morale and productivity alongside.

Wellbeing schemes and procedures

Supporting employee wellbeing through schemes and classes can significantly improve physical and mental health. Some great ways to do this is by providing:

  • Counseling and therapy sessions.
  • Physiotherapy and gym membership.
  • Paid leave for medical appointments.
  • Encouraging healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Sports and exercise classes.

Having these at discounted rates means more employees gain access to these schemes–all without breaking your bank.

Workplace health and safety

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, all employers have a duty of care for the safety of their employees–and this includes wellbeing.

By managing workplace health and safety, you can control and reduce potential injuries and accidents. And fewer illnesses means fewer absences. Some important H&S obligations your business needs to possess are:

  • Risk assessments.
  • Accident prevention.
  • Health protection.
  • Training and awareness.
  • Recording and reporting.

It’s also a good idea to reassess your workplace policies and risk assessments, and update them.

Also Read: 7 Ways To Curb Workplace Negativity

By preventing and reducing the risk of accidents, you can identify:

  • Which work tasks might cause injuries?
  • Who is likely to be subject to risks?
  • Any reasonable steps needed to reduce risks?

Identify and document these hazards and risks. It’ll help you manage repeat situations. Also, keep training up to date, utilise PPE if needed, and run assessments that are legally mandatory.

With thorough management, you’ll effectively comply with your legal duty of care, whilst reducing sick leave and absence. 

Take care of employee wellbeing

Assessing your absence rates can showcase a great evaluation for your employee’s wellbeing. 

Aspire to provide accessible and practical methods for improving health, wellbeing, and engagement at work.

Controlling levels accurately and timely can prove to be an effective wellbeing strategy. It’s the perfect way to record and manage absence and wellbeing together.


Kayleigh Frost Engagedly Guest Blogger

Kayleigh Frost works at Health Assured and has extensive knowledge of mental health and wellbeing, with a specific focus on the workplace. As a qualified Mental Health First Aider and a clinical department head, she strives for excellence and superior service delivery to all.

Want to know how Engagedly can help you improve employee experience? Request for a live demo.

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Kylee Stone

Kylee Stone supports the professional services team as a CX intern and psychology SME. She leverages her innate creativity with extensive background in psychology to support client experience and organizational functions. Kylee is completing her master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational psychology at the University of Missouri Science and Technology emphasizing in Applied workplace psychology and Statistical Methods.

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