Omicron: Controlling Workplace Absences

With cases of COVID-19 rising as the Omicron variant becomes more widespread in our communities, so too is the level of absences in the workplace. While densely populated areas such as London are seeing the brunt of the variant’s affect, with the capital’s absence rate increasing by roughly 30% in recent weeks, there continues to be absences ranging from 10% to 25% across the UK.

 

What are the government doing to help minimise workforce disruption?

Procedures have been put in place recently to help with absenteeism in the workplace including:

  • reducing the isolation period to 7 days with 2 negative lateral flow tests, one on day 6 and one on day 7
  • introducing daily contact testing in England to prevent the need to self-isolate
  • boosting the numbers of HGV drivers through quicker testing and skills bootcamps

 

What can I do to help reduce absenteeism in my place of work?

As a business, it’s important to manage absenteeism to the best of your abilities to ensure continued successful operations as we begin the new year.

A simple way to do so is to actively encourage your employees to continue to follow current COVID-19 guidance:

  • get both jabs and when invited, get their booster
  • encourage employees to limit their contacts
  • outdoors is safer than indoors
  • do a lateral flow test before seeing others
  • if employees experience symptoms, they should self-isolate and book a PCR test
  • wear a face covering

Other ways you can help to limit the amount of absenteeism occurring in the workplace is by improving employee well-being. While a lot of absences are due to COVID-19 affecting people physically, this is also accompanied by workplace-related stress which are heightened during this time of communal distress.

By continuing to promote positivity to your workforce such as maintaining a healthy work-life balance and encouraging socially-distanced networking, this can help alleviate the number of absences your workplace may see that are related to high stress levels.

While the disruption brought on due to COVID-19 cannot be avoided completely, planning and preparations can be made in order to better help the situation.  One method could be to split your employees into group A and group B and have them work in their respective groups to minimise the risk of infection that can come from intermingling with large groups of people.

Ensuring the workspace is safe by enforcing social distancing where possible, providing hand sanitizer and PPE are other ways in which you can help to keep your employees safe and manage the levels of absenteeism in the workplace.

For further up to date information on COVID-19 regulations, visit the Welsh Government website at https://gov.wales/coronavirus.

If you need advice on absenteeism in the workplace, or any other HR related issue, contact us today at [email protected]

Quotes