Absence of analysis of absence…

Employees going off sick is sometimes problematic, frequently concerning and nearly always something you could do without as a manager.  However whilst we soldier on without the cure for all illness and the prevention of all accidents, a certain amount of workplace absence will occur.  What is your practice on someone’s return to work after a period of absence?  This isn’t an HR call to fill in a return to work form, so that we can reassure ourselves that a form has been ticked and therefore all is right with the world.  However by looking into and using your absence data, you could uncover some interesting insights that have been hiding in plain sight all along.

Do people go off with a lot of back pain, neck pain etc?  If they work at desks, are they set up correctly?  Are they able to move around regularly?  Do people feel it’s ok to take a break?

Are people reporting a lot of stress?  Or numerous more minor issues such as stomach upsets and headaches, especially where this hadn’t previously been a problem?  Does the problem seem to centre on one team, or are you perhaps going through a difficult period as a business and there is a deal of uncertainty present in the workplace?

You may find that by looking into your reasons for absence, and talking to your people, and then making a few minor adjustments, you may find that your absence greatly reduces.

Another thing to investigate is whether there are any potential patterns to absence, for example frequent Mondays or Fridays, always off the day after a bank holiday or following annual leave?  By analysing your data, it could be that you uncover a suspicion that all may not be what it appears to be.  Don’t jump to conclusions – it may not be the case that the absence isn’t genuine, but it is certainly worth some further investigation.


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