Staff absences from illness is, unfortunately, one of those things that every business has to deal with. Though inevitable, it can still be frustrating, as they interrupt projects and workflow, generally making an organisation less productive than it otherwise could be.

However, the good news is, although employees calling in sick is largely out of your hands, it’s not completely out of your control; there are a number of things you have influence over that can help cut down the number of staff absences and sick days.

With that in mind, let’s look at a few ways to reduce sickness absence in your company:

Create a healthy working environment

Firstly, ensure you’re doing everything within your power to provide a working environment that prevents sickness and injury. This includes:

    • Air Quality – Poor air quality guarantees that any bug makes its way around the office will do so quickly.  To combat this, ensure you have proper ventilation and regular-cleaned air filters.
    • Ergonomics – Invest in desks, chairs, and other equipment that promotes proper posture. This will prevent backaches, neck problems, and other strains that might cause employees to take time off.
    • Fresh Water – Provide fresh, cool, filtered water. Keeping hydrated helps aid concentration, reduces stress and prevents headaches. Plus, it flushes toxins out of the body, giving the immune system a hand.
    • Hand sanitiserPlacing hand sanitiser around the office encourages employees to use it, preventing the spread of bacteria.

Remote work

Provide the option to work at home, if possible. This is ideal for someone coming down with something, as they won’t then come into the office and infect everyone else! Plus, such a compromise means they’re still able to be productive in some capacity, while feeling ill.


Similarly, offer flexible working conditions for employees with families. This is especially helpful at particular times of the year, like school holidays and, ironically, when the kids go back to school, when parents can feel overwhelmed. Offering flexible working conditions gives them the option to adapt to circumstances, instead of simply taking sick leave.

More importantly, such employees will feel cared for and empathised with, which can go a long way to preventing stress and subsequent illness. 

Promote health

The healthier your staff, the more robust their immune systems and the better they’ll handle stress. A few simple, but effective, ways to do this include:

    • Organising a discount for, or even subsidising, membership at a nearby gym or health club.
    • Arranging to have a fruit basket delivered frequently.
    • Arranging discounts at nearby healthy food eateries. Better yet, every so often, treat everyone to a healthy lunch.

Provide incentives for those who don’t take sick leave

Every organisation has a few employees that take very few sick days, if any at all, toughing it out where others had opted to call in – yet they’re never recognised for this. Instead, why not find a way to reward such people? This could be with something as simple as a gift voucher, or something more significant, like a bonus or increasing their holiday allowance for the following year.