One of the most significant messages from the recent Government announcement was permission for those that could not work from home to return to the workplace. For those businesses who are now returning to work the fundamentals of social distancing and exceptional hygiene practice must be in place. But is this enough to protect businesses and prevent the spread of Covid-19?
Businesses that don’t have sufficient tools to log, track, and manage employee sickness will be more at risk compared to those that do. Without clear sickness tracking tools, how would employers know who’s in self-isolation or off sick with symptoms? More so, how will they know if these employees are safe to return to the workplace without compromising the health of others? The requirement for sickness tracking has become more important than ever.
Employee absence management has changed rapidly as a result of Covid-19 from something that businesses thought they could do without, to an operational and wellbeing essential. Below we have outlined 3 ways employee absence and sickness tracking have changed forever as a result of Covid-19.
1. Tracking and logging sickness is a necessity
Prior to Covid-19, many businesses would log an employee off sick for a certain period and that would be it. There would be no indication of why they were off, what caused it, or any other information surrounding the sickness. Covid-19 has changed this dramatically.
If an employee has been off sick with Covid-19 symptoms, and this hasn’t been tracked, they will put the health of colleagues at risk when they return to the workplace. Without the correct tools to do this, tracking these important details of employee sickness can be difficult, especially for businesses with hundreds or thousands of employees. Therefore, we believe that come to the end of Covid-19, all businesses will be forced to track sickness effectively to prevent the further spread of the virus.
2. Virtual medical solutions continue to rise
With the increased pressure and strain that the NHS has experienced, and GP’s around the country being closed, seeing a healthcare professional has become difficult. As a result, many doctors are turning to technology to help alleviate the strain to speak to patients. We have already seen a rise in online GP services, through which doctors can still have face-to-face appointments with their patients without leaving the home.
Businesses with employee wellbeing at the center of their people strategy were quick to leverage these services to give their employees the ability to book an appointment, see a doctor, and be treated all from the safety of their homes. With the danger of Covid-19 likely to be with us throughout the remainder of 2020 at least, virtual GP appointments with doctors will become the new standard in the future.
3. Elevate employee wellbeing with early intervention
We all now know the importance of employee wellbeing, but employers are finding it difficult to provide sufficient and accessible support. Recent studies from the CIPD revealed that only 31% of managers have the confidence to have sensitive discussions around mental health and signpost them to expert sources of help.
With the right tools and at hand, employers will be able to identify, manage, and potentially prevent occurrences of unplanned absence. If an employee is showing signs of repeated absence, managers can log occurrences, report on it, and monitor with automated triggers. More so, accessible health and wellness advice from the NHS gives managers the confidence that expert sources of help are available 24/7 to the employee. Ultimately, employers are in a better position to proactively help employees before absenteeism becomes a larger problem.
Many scientists and professionals are saying that this virus may be with us for years to come. Whether we make it through the pandemic sooner or later, it is fundamental that businesses track and log all forms of sickness now and into the future. This will not only help businesses and their people get through the current pandemic but enable them to become stronger and better equipped to manage future outbreaks.
The future of absence and sickness tracking is here today. We have the tools to help you track and log sickness across your business, enabling you to be proactive and helping your business and employees for the future.
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Katrina is edays' own People Director with significant UK and international experience in delivering people strategy and value-adding HR solutions across a range of organisations and sectors (including Arriva, Boots, Rolls Royce, the utility and charity sectors). Katrina has over 20 years of experience in Human Resources and is CIPD qualified.