• Anna Harrington

Occupational health tips to reduce sickness absence

Last week I promised to give tips this week to assist your employees back to work following sickness absence. Here they are and as ever just a 1 minute read:

Workplace modifications

Even if your employees are not exposed to the risks that roofers are, it is always worth considering adjusting work expectations. I call these the 3 flexis:

1. Adjust working time; reduce, earlier or later start and finish, allow for rest periods

2. Adjust work content, volume, complexity, emotional demands, cognitive demands

3.Change work location; work from home or different offices that are closer to home.

Always have timescales to these flexis for instance when will they be reviewed.

Obtain professional occupational health advice

You may say that I am bound to say this being an occupational health advisor! But it is not just my profession who guide occupational health being involved. ACAS support this view.

Occupational health will assess the employee health from a wide perspective; biopsychosocial and give the employee and you evidenced based advice on return to work. An occupational health assessment gives the opportunity for the employee to talk confidentially to a health professional who specialises in workplace health. Occupational health will combine health knowledge with consideration of work risks to offer appropriate recommendations.

Train your line managers in managing sickness absence including how to have difficult conversations

There is no doubt that tensions will be on both sides; the employee who is off sick who is probably feeling vulnerable and the line manager who is under pressure to maintain outputs with a reduced team. This can easily result in communications that are misinterpreted, clumsy timing and wording. Affects on this important relationship occur. Done well these affects can enhance the relationship. Having your line managers trained to do this will increase their skills and ability to do this. Here is a link to appropriate training.

That is all for this week folks. I will be back next week with another scintillating topic. Do let me know if there is anything you want me to cover.

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