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40% of sick leave is taken because of this one thing! Here's how to find out if it's behind Joan's recent absence

by , 24 March 2015
There's not one person in the working world who isn't familiar with stress and doesn't have it from time to time.

After all, what's an approaching deadline or important presentation without that little buzz at the back of the head or slightly queasy feeling in your stomach?

It's motivating. And can really help drive your employees to meet their deadlines.

But it's not all good.

In fact, the latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), shows that stress accounts for a massive 40% of all work-related illnesses. And is to blame for workers in the UK taking over 105 million sick leave days every year.

Worse, it's also one of the biggest causes of long-term absence in your staff.

But how can you tell if stress is the reason Joan's been off sick twice in the last six weeks?

Your return to work interview could help...

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Use your return to work interview to find out more than just whether your employee can resume her normal duties

Most companies see their return to work interview as a mere formality. It's something they're required to do to find out if their employee: 
a) needs additional treatment, 
b) is on any medication that can hamper performance or safety, 
and c) can resume normal duties. 
But what happens if you have an employee, like Joan, whose taken sick leave twice in the last two weeks?
In this case, your return to work interview becomes your best weapon. 
Because you can use it to find out if one of the following leading causes of workplace stress is behind her increase in sick leave: 
  1. The demands of the job
  2. The control an employee has over their work
  3. The support they receive from managers and colleagues
  4. Relationships in the workplace
  5. The employee's role in the organisation
  6. Organisational change and how it's managed.
Once you know that, the two of you can work out a plan to curb it. 

Don't think helping your employee deal with stress only improves her sick leave stats

It can also cause a big boost in his morale and productivity. Since research shows that nearly half of all employees know a colleague who quit work due to stress, something as simple as helping her deal with it can, ultimately, cause her to stay at your company longer.
PS: To get your hands on a sample return to work interview template your company can use right away (plus dozens of other essential HR forms), click here. 

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40% of sick leave is taken because of this one thing! Here's how to find out if it's behind Joan's recent absence
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