Effective Absence Management Strategies for UK Businesses

A Comprehensive Guide to Tracking, Understanding, and Reducing Employee Absences


In the dynamic world of UK business, it’s crucial to have strategies in place to not only track and understand employee absences but also to take proactive steps to reduce them. In this guide, we’ll delve into the importance of managing and reducing absence, provide insights on tracking and understanding the causes, and offer actionable steps to foster a healthier work environment.

Why managing and reducing absence is important:

Absence comes with a hefty price tag, costing UK business owners approximately £7 billion in 2020 alone. While occasional sick days are inevitable, it’s vital to be aware of the broader impact on your business. Beyond the direct cost of salaries, absenteeism can lead to resourcing issues, decreased productivity, missed deadlines, and disruptions to client relationships.

How to track absence:

Efficiently tracking absence is paramount to addressing the issue. Utilizing HR software, such as Breathe, can automate the recording, monitoring, and reporting of absence trends. This allows business owners to gain valuable insights into the extent of the problem.

Understanding the cause of absence:

Conducting return-to-work interviews is a key strategy for understanding why employees take time off. These interviews not only provide insights but can also act as a deterrent for those contemplating unwarranted absences. Templates and frameworks are available to assist in conducting effective return-to-work interviews.

Top reasons for absence in the UK:









Referencing data from the Office of National Statistics, we outline the primary reasons employees take time off, offering a foundation for further investigation.

Taking action to reduce absence:

Addressing absence requires a tailored approach based on the specific reasons for employee time off. General areas to consider include fostering a culture of wellbeing, embracing flexible working arrangements, investing in training and development, promoting clear communication, and acknowledging employee efforts through recognition and reward.

Reducing absence in your business is a multifaceted task that requires a strategic and proactive approach. By understanding the root causes and implementing targeted initiatives, you can create a positive work environment that supports the physical and mental wellbeing of your team. If you’re seeking assistance in reducing absence in your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

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