Absenteeism – it is the bottom-line killer costing Australian organisations billions of dollars each year. But absence in the workplace is more than the direct cost of sick, personal or annual leave, it is the loss of productivity, outputs and the flow-on impacts for those around the injured worker.

We know for every day sooner an employee can return to the office, at least $578 in direct costs is saved. It is in everyone’s best interest if the injured worker’s workplace supports them to overcome injury – whether it physical or psychological – and return to work in a timely, safe and sustainable manner.

Let’s explore how you can reduce the cost of absenteeism in your workplace.

Understand the why

To help reduce the cost of absenteeism, you must first understand why employees take absences. For labour-intensive professions, this may be a common physical injury. For high-stress industries, this may be unexplained and frequent absences due to poor mental health and wellbeing.

Accidents always occur, so it is up to you to determine what can and cannot be controlled. However once you understand why employees take leaves of absence, you can accurately prepare for the future and implement safeguards to prevent additional workers falling victim to the same injury.

Protect your employees in the new work environment

With the ever-growing blur between work and life, employers are facing increased demand to protect their employees both in-and-out of the traditional office. No longer can workers be injured in just one workplace, but regardless of the location, there can be major ramifications for your organisation.

As we enter 2022, it is important you take a step back to consider if your organisation’s health and safety has taken a backseat to COVID-19 controls. Ask yourself: does your company’s group personal accident and illness policy adequately cover the new work environment? Does your claims provider have the necessary experience and capability to support your employers with an appropriate and prompt return to work plan?

A robust and comprehensive review of your health and safety plan and related insurance policies can reduce the incidence of physical injuries, such as slips, trips or falls, and additional costs to your business. With the home office a mainstay for many, you’ll need to also consider if this plan adequately addresses the risk of injuries in the home office, a poor workstation set-up or mental illness due to isolation and disconnection.

The burnout generation

Employee wellbeing and absence rates are inextricably linked – and psychological illness, such as burnout, depression or anxiety, is typically the result of an individual’s surrounding environment. Wellbeing is a concept unique to each individual worker, so a ‘one size fits all’ approach may not have a real impact on absenteeism in today’s society.

Too often we see workplaces adopt a ‘set and forget’ approach to mental health, launching with great intentions of weekly drinks, physical fitness programs and mindfulness workshops – but without monitoring who is participating in these initiatives and why, this approach will likely fail. Workplaces should look to establish roles within the relevant teams to evaluate and report on what works for who and ensure that employees who may experience a psychological illness can return to work in a safe, timely and sustainable manner.

It is no secret that leaves of absence are a growing challenge for workplaces of today, so when an injury or illness occurs, it is crucial you support your employee – anywhere and anytime. At Gallagher Bassett, we have dedicated team with the ability to manage any accident and health claim your workplace may encounter in Australia and around the world.

 

Gallagher Bassett responds to over 22,000 accident and health insurance claims around the world each year using our innovative, best practice claims management platform. Head to https://www.gallagherbassett.com.au/general-insurance-claims/accident-health/ or connect with John White at john_white@gbtpa.com.au to learn how we can help you reduce the cost of injury or illness in the workplace.

Blog Author

John White

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