Its official, the leaves are off the trees, the clocks have gone back and winter is setting in. It can only mean one thing- the office lurgie will soon start doing the rounds. But what is the real cost of sick days to a company?
Sick days cost UK employers around £29 billion a year and the average worker has 9.1 sick days a year*.But these startling figures aren’t the only cost to businesses.
Often bugs such as the common cold can spread like wildfire in offices. Many employees will continue to come to work whilst they have early symptoms of a cold meaning the spread of germs amongst teams, before you know it half the office is off with the dreaded lurgie.
Controlling the spread of germs is difficult with the majority of offices now open plan and many having communal facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Sick days often have longer lasting effects than just the day or two that employees are absent. Besides the outright financial cost to businesses, absenteeism can often lead to a drop in productivity and lack of motivation by remaining team members. Ultimately sick days delay work and often mean other employees have to pick up additional duties.
The real cost of sick days to a company can often be a lack of morale, the office ‘buzz’ is regularly lost which is evident to both employees and clients. This can take time to recover even when employees return from sick leave.
In today’s highly competitive business environment, more than ever a lack of morale and drop in productivity can be crippling to businesses large or small.
In periods of high absenteeism it is important for managers to see lack of morale as a real threat. The true cost of office sick days is often not related to the employee that is off sick but for those that are still at work.
*Source: research done by PwC, published by hrmagazine 15th July 2013
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