Two thirds of businesses unable to count cost of COVID-19 on workforce

More than two-thirds of business leaders across the UK have no idea how much employee sickness is costing their business, according to e-days, the absence intelligence platform.

The findings come from an exclusive survey of 100 senior HR executives from well-known global brands by e-days. Of the respondents, one in three still tracked their staff absence manually, using spreadsheets or paper-based forms.

The news comes as businesses plan a gradual return to the workplace after the end of lockdown. There are fears that this will have created added pressure via a filing backlog in manual spreadsheets and absence forms.

When asked about whether absenteeism is a topic for senior board level, a third of respondents said that it was not discussed in the business.

Absence intelligence has emerged as a new priority during the Covid-19 crisis. Last year, 141m working days were lost due to sickness or injury in the UK, and the impact of Covid-19 is likely to have had a significant impact on this figure when measures like furlough are taken into account.

“An organisation of 1,000 people will save £170,000 per month by taking a proactive approach to cutting absence durations and resolving tricky cases,” said Steve Arnold, CEO of e-days. “In addition to the financial element, it’s really important for leaders to understand their employee wellbeing now more than ever, with the growth of mental health issues and associated Covid-19 related issues.

“It’s astonishing that staff absence tracking is still a paper-based process in many large organisations, when patterns and trends here are so important to spot warning signs in individuals and teams – and for businesses to focus on productivity at this difficult time.”

For further insights on this topic, check out the webinar: ‘Why sickness management must be your #1 HR priority’, presented by e-days in association with ASOS.

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