National Sickie Day?
Did you notice anything strange about yesterday? Specifically when you were at work, or in fact maybe when you were at home? Because Monday 6th February was ‘national sickie day’ in the UK, the day of the year when workers are statistically most likely to call in sick to work.
Why might that be? Well Mondays are generally the most likely day of the week for an employee to call in sick to work, and although there is an implication that a ‘sickie’ is something dishonest, there are of course many legitimate reasons for workers to need to take sick days.
In the post-covid world we perhaps understand the importance of staying home if we are ill more than we did before, as coming into work only to spread what could be a potentially dangerous illness is obviously a bad idea — especially for healthcare workers. And with February being a winter month in the thick of cold & flu season, it seems reasonable that one of these months would be the worst for sickness absence.
Another consideration is that the dark winter months in northern Europe and similar latitudes are considered especially taxing on mental health, with increases in anxiety and depression.
So what are employers to do?
As we have discussed, asking employees who are ill to come in and continue working is, generally speaking, an extremely bad idea and ultimately, a false economy. While employers should accept that there is a real possibility that employees will have to take sick leave, the problems it causes can be mitigated.
Firstly, make sure that there are as few single points of failure in your business, and when this comes to employees, it means having as few instances as possible where only one person has the skills, knowledge or access for tasks to be completed. Employees should be cross-trained so that there is the capacity to continue if employees cannot be at work, and you will also be better prepared for things like vacation time, or when employees leave the business.
Secondly, you can make sure that you have excess capacity for staff, again especially relevant in a healthcare context. Care Providers joining the Care Hires network are matched with agencies that can provide staff well in excess of their general requirements for just such occasions where there are sudden spikes in demand and to be ready for you as your organisation grows. This is one of the many things that makes Care Hires stand out as a service — we focus on making sure all the shifts you need can be filled quickly and easily, with high-quality candidates.