PwC has recently put together an infographic looking at workplace absenteeism, and how it can be reduced.
According to their infographic, British employees take an average of 9.1 days of unscheduled absence from work every year, costing British businesses £32 billion per annum.
The most popular reasons for short term absence were minor illnesses and home responsibilities, whereas longer absences were typically caused by recurring health problems, accidents outside of work and mental ill health.
There’s not a lot employers – or employees – can do about catching a nasty cold or getting a bout of food poisoning. But work can be done to reduce the 9% of absences caused by mental ill health, or to reduce the number of people who are absent due to personal problems or back pain.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, a third of people feel unhappy with the amount of time they dedicate to work. 27% of people working long hours feel depressed, 34% feel anxious and 58% feel irritable. So what can both employers and employees do to better manage their work/life balance, without it effecting their attendance record?
How can employers improve workplace absenteeism?
BT saw a 35-40% increase in productivity when they implemented flexitime and telecommuting, so flexitime is not only good for employees – it’s good for the company too.
Be realistic about what your employees can achieve
If their workload requires a 50-hour week in order to complete everything, then you should reassess their responsibilities, or hire a support member of staff.
Have regular appraisals with your staff
Identify areas where they are struggling and devise ways to better support them.
Create a comfortable workplace
11% of men, and 7% of women, take short-term leave due to back pain. Ensuring that your staff has a workspace that is optimised for back support and comfort will immediately reduce that absenteeism.
What can employees do to improve their work-life balance?
‘Work smart, not long’
Long work hours are proven to adversely affect your health, so try to work smarter rather than longer, by allocating yourself strict times within which to complete a task. This will stop you from getting drawn into long meetings or obsessing over a single piece of work.
Take proper breaks
Don’t work through your lunchtime, and where possible try to get out of the office during your break. You’ll be more refreshed afterwards, and more productive.
Tell your boss if you’re overworked, or feeling stressed
Don’t bottle it up if you feel like you’re stretched to breaking point. Ask your boss or line manager for help.
Make the most of your free time
Even if you feel exhausted after a week of work, you should do your best to make the most of your time off. Exercise, hobbies and good relationships are key to improving your mood, and you’ll feel like your work/life balance is a little more, well, balanced.