Why do small businesses fear staff absence?

Smaller firms can be far more adversely affected as a result of staff absence than larger companies, simply because there are less available people to fill any gaps.


More than two thirds of SME owners in the UK fear that productivity and revenues would be negatively affected should one member of staff be off for four weeks or more.


That is according to AXA PPP healthcare, whose research also suggested that only three in ten owners had a plan for how to manage employee sickness effectively.


This comes despite their concerns, meaning managers are recognising the risks but are doing little about them in the majority of cases.


Having some sort of plan should a member of staff be away from work for a prolonged period of time could have many benefits to a company.


Hiring temporary staff costs money so having a system that can mitigate these costs is essential – especially in instances where it is not known when a worker will return.


Losing a key member of staff could also lead to business losses if they occupy particularly influential positions – such as team or office managers for example.


Not only will overall company productivity be impacted with staff absence, but sales could drop, relations with clients could be damaged and cash flows could be placed under pressure.


Although the latter is only likely in severe cases of absence and where replacement staff are not available, business recovery may be required to resolve the situation.


Opting to seek professional assistance is recommended to aid the running and management of a company should mismanagement occur.


People are a major part of any company and it is unsurprising that three quarters of business owners said their employees were critical to the success of a company.


Some 39% of those surveyed rated employees as the most important asset of the business, ahead of products and services, office space or other premises, and equipment.


Employee benefit packages can help to keep staff motivated and in work, while medical insurance can play a pivotal role in supporting them back into the workplace after time away.


Given that staff absence is thought to cost UK businesses around £29 billion each year, taking an active approach to tackling the issue is essential to long term success.


By Phil Smith


If you would like to have a free no obligation chat with one of our advisers please call us on 0207 186 1144.

View all Business Insights