Managing winter sickness absence

As winter approaches, businesses face the annual challenge of managing sickness absence effectively     .

Many businesses are encouraging their employees to return to the office after years of remote working. This can be a struggle, particularly as the cold and flu season gets underway in October and November.  The following steps can be taken to help your firm to manage sickness absences in the winter months:


Promoting Vaccination

A vaccinated workforce is less likely to fall victim to flu-related illnesses. Provide your employees with the option to get flu vaccinations. Consider offering on-site vaccination clinics or providing information about local vaccination options.


Flexible Working Arrangements

Now that remote working has become generally accepted, consider allowing employees to work from home when it’s feasible. This not only reduces the risk of illnesses spreading within the workplace but also enables employees to recover and where possible, they can be productive when they are starting to feel better.


Transparent Sick Leave Policies

Make sure your sick leave policies are clear and easily accessible. Employees should know how to report sick days and what’s expected of them during their absence.


Wellness Initiatives

Implement wellness programmes that encourage healthy habits, such as thorough handwashing, maintaining a balanced diet, and managing stress. These initiatives can reduce the likelihood of illnesses and absenteeism. You could even provide an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to support your employees’ mental and emotional well-being during the winter season. The dark and cold months can take a toll on mental health, and EAPs offer counselling and support.



Consider cross-training your employees to handle each other’s responsibilities. This ensures business continuity in case of unexpected absences, allowing your workforce to stay agile during busy periods. Keep the lines of communication open with your employees. Encourage them to report illnesses promptly so that the workload can be redistributed across other team members and extra resource can be allocated, if needed.