Missing in Action
No matter how good your work team is, if someone is missing, it’s probably never going to accomplish as much as if you had a full roster. It’s a foregone conclusion that people get sick and, depending on the severity of the illness, will take time off to recuperate. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, but companies should have some sort of absence management program in place so that workload can be evenly distributed and designated tasks don’t fall through the cracks just because the person responsible was out that day. Part of any absence management program should be wellness strategies for reducing the amount of sick time that employees need to take by helping to make them healthier individuals.
It’s no secret that a healthy employee is probably not going to miss work due to illness as much as an employee who isn’t as healthy. In an article on Employee Benefit News titled, Employers Look to Wellness Programs to Combat Absenteeism, a company that has problems dealing with employee absenteeism should consider creating or revising return-to-work policies that emphasize employee wellness. If an employee comes back to work while he or she is still sick, then they may not be able to perform their duties sufficiently. They could also still be contagious and make other employees sick, thereby making things worse than if they had just stayed home.
Of course, while employees are staying at home and suffering from being sick, the productivity at the companies where they work is most likely also suffering. To help bolster the bottom line, wellness and overall improved health should be encouraged. This can be done in a variety of ways, but any major change in an employer’s wellness program should be phased in for maximum effectiveness. A culture of wellness helps to create and maintain a cohesive and productive work environment.
Some of the most important factors in ensuring that a wellness program is effective are setting specific goals for measurement, getting senior management to lead by example, having a robust communications campaign, and validating long-term employee engagement.