Sickness absence management is often an overlooked HR process, especially during the winter months. Absenteeism rates often spike during the flu season and many business owners believe that there is nothing that can be done. What\u2019s more, with the battle against Coronavirus still ongoing, absence rates are going to be higher than normal. However, there's a lot that you can do to reduce absence rates during the flu season!\r\n\r\nWhat is sickness absence management?\r\nSickness absence management is the process of monitoring, recording, and liaising with employees who are absent due to sickness. It also includes working with the employee and occupational health to help ensure the employee is fit to return to work. Ultimately, effective sickness absence management can help you reduce your absenteeism rates \u2013 which is a win-win for all involved!\r\n\r\nHeightened absenteeism rates during the winter months\r\nThe flu can be attributed to a large amount of absenteeism cases throughout the winter months. The cold and wet weather we experience throughout winter means indoor spaces are less humid than outside. This means that viruses can live longer indoors, thus making it easier for the virus to spread. Additionally, we spend longer indoors during the winter months further increasing our chances of catching the flu.\r\n\r\nFlu season + Coronavirus = Increased absenteeism\r\nA lot is still unknown when it comes to Coronavirus. However, the one thing that scientists agree on is that we are due \u2013 and are currently seeing \u2013 another spike. Those who display Coronavirus symptoms or are officially diagnosed with Coronavirus need to self-isolate for at least 10 days. Should someone be living in the same household as someone who is showing Coronavirus symptoms or has been told to self-isolate through the Test and Trace app, then the self-isolation period increases to 14 days. This means your employees could potentially be off work for up to two working weeks. Couple this with the usual risk of coughs, sneezes and snot being passed round the office and we are likely to see an increase in absences this winter.\r\n\r\nPrevention is better than cure\r\nPrevention is better than cure is the adage, and it really resonates when it comes to effective sickness absence management. Of course, there are some areas of sickness that are completely unavoidable. But, there are ways in which you can reduce the chance of flu and Coronavirus outbreaks amongst your employees. For example, have you thought about referring employees to occupational health? What about hosting seasonal flu vaccination clinics or enhancing your hygiene controls within your business? What is your organisational culture and upper management\u2019s attitude towards sickness? If your employees are working in a culture where they are made to feel guilty about taking a sick day, then you run the risk of not only presenteeism issues within your business but also your employee infecting their colleagues.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe risk of presenteeism\r\nPresenteeism occurs when your employee is sick but still turns up to the workplace to carry out their shift. Your employee may be dedicated to their work - which is great! But if they\u2019re feeling less than 100%, it\u2019s likely their work performance is going to mirror this. Alternatively, your employee may not feel comfortable taking a day off sick as it may be frowned upon within the company. An employee turning up to work whilst unwell doesn\u2019t do anyone any favours. Not only is their work performance going to be below their usual standard, they are also putting their colleagues at risk.\u00a0 In a couple days\u2019 time you may be dealing with an absent department let alone absent employee!\r\n\r\nEffective absence management by Attendance Pro\r\nAn effective way of reducing your sickness absence rates is through implementing an absence management process within your business. We don\u2019t mean simply recording an employee\u2019s absence and then waiting for them to return to work. What we mean is having a 24 hour absence helpline that your employees can call to report their absence any time. Having dedicated absence advisors following up with sick employees and reporting status updates to managers in real-time. We also mean notifications of those employees who should be referred to occupational health and having access to a dedicated employment law team who can help advise on any absence issues.\r\n\r\nAttendance Pro Absence Line\r\nAttendance Pro is our absence management service that incorporates both human absence advisors as well as reporting software. Our absence advisors are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and are contactable via a dedicated Attendance Pro phoneline. Employees will call up to report their absence and our advisors will record the absence on our Attendance Pro software. They will then follow up with the employee until they return to work. Whenever our absence advisor records or updates an absence, the Attendance Pro software will send designated managers an update email. Staff are much more comfortable reporting their absence to an independent person than their own manager. Therefore, you are more likely to receive an accurate description of the nature of your employee\u2019s absence through Attendance Pro than you are your own HR team.\r\n\r\nAttendance Pro Software\r\nAs well as viewing employee absence records, our absence management software works allows your management team to view your company\u2019s absenteeism statistics. Example data you can view through our software includes:\r\n\r\nEmployee Bradford Factor Scores. View your employees\u2019 Bradford Factor scores as well as the recommended next employment law steps ie. first written warning\r\nAbsence Heat Map. Drill down into your data to uncover the company\u2019s most popular days and hours for absenteeism\r\nAbsence Reasons. Uncover if there are any underlying trends within your company\u2019s absenteeism levels\r\nEmployee Absence Percentages. Reveal the percentage of your employees who are absent\r\nAll of the above are fully customisable to provide statistics based on your own time frames, whether this be yearly, monthly or weekly. You are also able to view statistics from an employee, department or company level. This lets you compare multiple absence reports. Only by fully understanding your company\u2019s absence statistics will you then be able to start to reduce your absence rates proactively and holistically.\r\n\r\nFind out more about Attendance Pro and get your free trial! Complete the contact form to the right or call us on 08450 50 40 60.