Managing sickness absence is one of the greatest challenges facing our clients and costs the UK economy £billions each year. Of course many have genuine reasons with unexpected sickness, stress, domestic problems, travel delays and needing to cope with dependents illness or bereavement. Many return to work as soon as they can, whilst others take more frequent and longer spells of time away from their job.

So, why do some people not want to come to work? They may be unhappy with their job and its content; they don’t feel needed; they’re bored; they lack commitment and motivation; there may be conflict or personality issues in the workplace. If no issue is made of the odd day here or there and longer spells of time off aren’t managed, absence can become seen as the ‘norm’.

What can help make people want to come to work? Positive management skills and other company initiatives will address many issues and improve attendance and retention of staff. These include improving communication, providing support and encouragement, training and development opportunities and giving recognition and regular constructive feedback. What can really help is to raise the profile of the issue, perhaps having it as an agenda item at staff meetings and appraisals, keeping an eye on data about absence levels and most importantly having regular return to work chats following any unexpected absence.