Why should employers keep in touch with long-term absentees?

For employers, staff members who are absent from work for an extended period due to illness or injury can incur hefty financial costs to the business. They can also make a great deal of work for their colleagues and managers. As a result, long-term absentees can cause more than just monetary problems for business. Therefore, it is essential that businesses don’t overlook long term absence and ensure such absences are not unnecessarily prolonged.

For employees who take long-term sick leave personal finances are always an issue, especially as businesses do not always pay long-term absentees the same as if they were at work. Furthermore, if an employee is off work for an extended period due to illness or injury they can easily become worried about their ability to perform when they return to work and some may even feel undervalued or as if their employer no longer cares for them.

Evidently, long term absenteeism effects both individuals and businesses in varied and not just financial ways. Accordingly, long term absentees should be dealt in a way which benefits both parties and helps keep the length of absence to a minimum. This is where effective communication comes into play.

How to Keep in Touch

There are numerous ways employers can keep in touch with long-term absentees, however, not all ways are suitable for all situations and those who are to make contact should carefully consider the situation of the absentee before making any contact. For example, it would be silly to ask an employee who has broken a leg to come into work to discuss the progress of their recovery. Likewise, it would be foolish to call to check up on absentee who is known to have issues with their throat and is unlikely to be heard over the background noise of the office. Adjusting the communication method to the individual case of the absentee will not only help with communication but will show them an effort was made to accommodate their needs also.

Nowadays, home visits are an increasingly popular method of keeping in touch with employees on long-term sick leave. Not only do they show the employee that they are valued and cared for but a home visit can also be highly beneficial for employers. An employer can get a first-hand update on the employee’s condition, needs and wants from a home visit and they can discuss any specific adjustments the employee may need upon their return to work. Home visits, however, can easily go wrong so it’s good to take some XpertHR advice before undertaking one.

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