Lifting the sickness burden: it’s not just about illness


It goes without saying that sickness is a burden on any business. If for whatever reason your levels of absence due to sickness are high, you’re constantly under the cosh as a business, scratching around to find people to cover shifts and minimise overall disruption. So what can be done to make this common conundrum less of an issue?

The first and most important thing is to realise that sickness absence isn’t just about illness. Staff becoming unwell is a fact of life and will always be unavoidable, so it’s naturally something to be expected. But there are other big reasons why people might need to take time off – think excessive stress, demotivation brought on by unmanageable workloads, anti-social work patterns and the associated burnout from people being too stretched for too long.

Many of these things are perfectly avoidable. At its core, the solution to the problem is simple: keep a closer eye on the happiness of your staff, work out what is causing these issues, and take decisive action to remedy them in the long run. There are lots of ways to increase staff motivation, happiness and fulfilment in their roles, and one of these is to make improvements to the way you schedule your employees’ time. When did you last engage your people to ask WHAT they want, and most important, WHY they want it? You can’t create innovative and effective solutions to people’s challenges if you don’t understand what they are looking for

Effective scheduling means making the most of the latest in workforce management (WFM) technologies, which have automated, fair and intelligent scheduling at their very heart. If you’re tasked with managing a large workforce, making sure that everyone is happy with the way their shifts are being organised is no easy task. By putting a powerful WFM solution in place – especially one that incorporates the flexibility and scalability of cloud – this process becomes much easier.

Giving visibility of options, long terms plans and personal work life balance are key attributes to help staff engage with your scheduling processes and really turn staff engagement to a positive and proactive experience, rather than a reactive measurement of the impact of poor colleague experiences.

The effect this has on employees in the long term is simple yet profound: easier scheduling means staff have much greater visibility of when they should be working, and makes quick changes and alterations to shifts a doddle. The result is that employee engagement and satisfaction increases, and sick leave being taken due to stress comes down.

Make this a reality, and the positive impact will eventually be felt by the people you want to impress the most – your customers.

To find out more about how you can make problematic scheduling a thing of the past, discover what our WFM software can do here.

Colin Whelan

Colin Whelan has been a part of the Customer Contact Industry for the last 25 years, leading and supporting the UK & Ireland communities as a thought leader in resource planning, Back Office Optimization and Data, Analytics and Insight. Working for Companies including Barclays Bank, First Choice Holidays and Barclaycard, before joining Aspect as a Senior Solutions Consultant he was the Head of professionalism for the Forum, where he was instrumental in the development of the world’s first accredited University qualifications for the customer contact industry, along with standards in reporting, targeting and the use of intelligence. This career committed to developing and sharing best practice was recognised in April 2015 when the Forum Community gave Colin it’s “Industry Hero” award, “Over the past 7 years Colin has been a key figure within our community, committed to improving professionalism, making a huge contribution to the body of best practice in areas such as data analysis, back office planning and forecasting methodology. He embodies passion and enthusiasm for our profession.”