Understanding workplace absence is key to improving productivity

Steve Arnold, CEO, E-days

Businesses need to understand why people choose to be away from work if they are ever to get a handle on their absence management – that was the takeaway message from our latest webinar, held in conjunction with E-days.

As we move past the peak of Covid-19 and businesses emerge from lockdown, company owners and HR professionals will need to be proactive, rather than reactive, in how they manage employee wellbeing, said global absence management software specialist E-days

E-Days CEO Steve Arnold and the firm’s sales director Alex Griffiths were joined by Leah Naman, absence management team leader at retail giant Asos, and Paul Holmes, managing director at Wirtgen, the global leader in road and mineral technologies.

Holmes said: “Having an effective absence management system in place means you can begin to understand why people are having sick days. Once you have access to this data, then your workforce becomes much more productive.

Naman added: “Once we’d installed a digital system we managed to start tracking when our staff were absent and we noticed trends. Some staff would often take time off before pay day or when there were big events happening. Over time we managed to persuade people that they could be honest with us why they were taking time off and we could try and address these issues.”

Griffiths, who chaired panel discussion during the webinar touched upon the duty of care that employees have towards their workforce.

Arnold said that this could be carried out armed with the data that an effective absence management system could provide.

He added: “This analysis could throw up issues such as people taking time off because they feel neglected or they’re overworked. Support around these issues can then also be tied in with other initiatives and employee assistance programmes.”

Delegates to the webinar also took part in a poll and submitted questions to the panelists. Steve Arnold also interviewed Lean Naman about E-days’ groundbreaking work in improving employee absence and wellbeing at Asos.

Further coverage of the webinar will follow on Monday and Tuesday or next week.

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