Absenteeism is estimated to cost Australian business around $17 billion per year.

According to various studies, every sick day costs businesses an average of $385 and one in 40 people do it daily in Australia. The assumption, in Australia at any rate, is that the old-fashioned ‘sickie’ is the major issue. But is that the reality? Is laziness the problem or is there more going on?

According to recent research 90% of sick days are the result of genuine illness, with colds, flu, headaches, gastro and mental health the leading culprits. Those who subscribe to the ‘sickie’ philosophy may assume that most sick days are taken on either a Monday or a Friday, in order to enjoy a long weekend.

The reality, however, is that Tuesdays are the most common day for unplanned absences from work.

Whether or not sick days result from a genuine need however, the fact remains that absenteeism has a major impact on the bottom line and businesses would be well advised to reduce staff absences as much as possible. The phenomena of sick workplaces may be reduced to two main issues:

  1. Health and wellbeing of employees not being prioritised.
  2. Workplace culture issues making employees reluctant to attend.

Employee Health and Wellbeing

This is a topic we have covered before: simple measures such as ensuring optimum hygiene levels in the workplace and encouraging healthy lifestyles can make a world of difference.

Check out these links for some great advice:

Positive Workplace Culture

High rates of absenteeism are sometimes a signal that there’s something very wrong with the way employees are engaged. An analysis by research firm Gallup, for example, revealed that disengaged employees have rates of absenteeism that are 27 per cent higher than their peers. A happy workplace is a productive workplace.

Here’s some ways to create that happy workplace:

  • take a genuine interest in the future path of an employee’s career: any helpful advice or mentoring you can provide will do wonders for an employee’s attitude
  • take a genuine interest in employees’ work-life balance: a well-balanced employee is a good employee. Where possible, some flexibility in schedules to allow for medical appointments or family commitments will go a long way.
  • Foster friendship at work. Encourage employee wellness and engagement activities to develop friendship and sense of community.
  • Listen: this one isn’t as easy as it sounds. Genuinely listening to an employee’s ideas about their work or about any problems they may be experiencing will always be appreciated.
  • Treat people with respect – it seems pretty obvious, but treating people with respect will make them more likely to treat you, their employer, with respect. Do unto to others …

Workplace Health & Hygiene

A healthy and hygienic workplace is not only great for employees, your customers will also enjoy it and, so, it is good for your bottom line. Fresh & Clean managed health and hygiene services provide a variety of useful, essential and stylish products and services including professional cleaning, hand sanitisers and cleansers, first aid supplies, and a wide range of washroom supplies including sanitary bins, soap dispensers and hand drying systems.

For more information, Alsco’s friendly representative is here to help you.


Image: Leonid Mamchenkov