Help reduce absence this National Sickie Day

National Sickie Day, the first Monday in February is, according to HR experts ELAS, the most likely date throughout the year for employees to phone in sick to work.

This date has been argued over the years by various organisations, but National Sickie Day remains in February and this year will take place on Monday 3rd.

Although most of us have worked in organisations long enough to know that a reasonable proportion of absence on National Sickie Day is related to a level of demotivation following Christmas, leading online retailer of quality first aid supplies, FirstAid4Less.co.uk, provides information below on measures that employers can take to reduce the overall levels of absence this February.

The importance of hand hygiene

It may seem obvious, but coughs and colds are year-on-year the most common cause of workplace sickness in the UK. Employees will often blame air conditioning units for the spread of germs, but in reality, the development of air conditioning systems and filters over the last decade makes the likeliness of recirculating germs very slim. It is much more feasible for the spread of germs around an organisation to be accelerated by poor hand hygiene after coughing and sneezing into the hands.

Organisations can take simple and cost-effective measures to promote hand hygiene in the workplace, thus limiting the spread of viruses. One such measure, now commonplace in the healthcare sector, is the installation of hand sanitiser stations at entranceways. This encourages staff to use the sanitiser every time they enter the workplace.

Organisations can take simple and cost-effective measures to promote hand hygiene in the workplace, thus limiting the spread of viruses. One such measure, now commonplace in the healthcare sector, is the installation of hand sanitiser stations at entranceways. This encourages staff to use the sanitiser every time they enter the workplace

Handwashing posters are also an effective way to raise awareness and reinforce your hand hygiene message. They provide details of how to properly wash the hands to ensure all germs are removed and good poster placement can prompt staff to wash their hands more regularly.

Atishoo in a tissue

An uncovered sneeze can project germs over 10 feet away and a sneeze into the hand will leave germs lingering until hands are washed or sanitised. The provision of tissues in the workplace provides an opportunity to drastically reduce the spread of infection. An employee is more likely to sneeze into a tissue and dispose of it appropriately if they have a box available at their workspace at the time of need.

It’s good to talk

Face to face communication is a very powerful tool. Not only will you have a captive audience to hear about the infection prevention measures you have put into place, making them more likely to use them, but talking to staff also gives an opportunity to find out how they are feeling. January and February can be extremely tough months for people suffering with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as well as those who experience anxiety and depression. You are more likely to avoid staff absences by identifying a mental health issue, showing empathy and working with the employee to ensure their mental wellbeing whilst at work.

Find out more about FirstAid4Less and their range of cost-effective infection control products at www.FirstAid4Less.co.uk