Luke Watkeys, Business Manager
Well, actually being sick is one, of course.
But ask this question to any group, and you’ll also get a whole host of other possible scenarios; domestic or carer issues, stress or workload, low motivation at work, bullying, travel problems, job interview…
They may even have another job!
It means being aware that one of the principles of managing absence well is about creating a culture where high levels of sickness absence are prevented in the first place and that your team are given plenty of opportunities to be open and honest with you about the reasons for poor attendance.
You’ll be aware that this month, the right to request a flexible working pattern was extended to all staff. Employees can often feel torn between work commitments and their home responsibilities, particularly if they have young children or if they care for elderly relatives. They may well have to take time off to deal with domestic 'emergencies', but will be concerned that their work position is vulnerable because of this. This constant balancing act can often manifest itself in high levels of employee stress or sickness, which does both them and you no good at all.
Flexible working, if done right, gives employees the chance to plan other commitments and activities around work and improve their work-life balance without jeopardising their work. Increasingly, we are seeing employers recognise the benefits to their organisation in terms of improved productivity, a lower absence rate and more motivated staff.
What the new law doesn’t mean is that staff can work whatever hours they choose without regard to their job. The decision to allow a flexible working request still rests with you, and you should always take your service into account first and foremost. The here is to create a culture where absence and the reasons for it are discussed openly, and for employers to be open to the possibility of their staff working in a different way if your service allows.