Depending on the nature of the absence, managers at pre-paid funeral plan provider Golden Charter will support any member of staff who is ill by reminding them about its employee assistance programme (EAP), regularly checking in to see how they are feeling and discussing return-to-work options, including reduced and flexible hours or different ways of working.
The business, which has more than 200 employees based at its Glasgow office, supports its staff by acknowledging that some will still choose to work at home when they would not have come into the office, for example, if they have a cold or a stomach upset.
Claire Donnelly, director of HR, explains: “Managers encourage their team members to understand their own limits and to work if they feel like they can, but they are under no pressure to do so. Our priority is making sure people get better as quickly as they can, and we don’t want working to get in the way of that. One of our values is that we put people first, it’s the right thing to do.”
As part of Golden Charter’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of all of its employees whether they are home, office or field based, it provides access to its EAP, which offers comprehensive support on a range of health and wellbeing matters and has trained a number of mental health first aiders. Its internal communications regularly feature items on health and wellbeing such as discounted gym membership, and it also has a variety of mandatory training modules designed to protect employees on topics like home working, manual handling and display screen equipment.
The organisation also regularly surveys employees to find out if staff appreciate the benefits on offer and is currently reviewing its benefits package, asking for input from employees on what benefits and support matters to them and their families as part of an acknowledgement that there is always room for improvement.
In terms of how other employers can support their staff in this way, thinking about what work needs to be done, rather than how it needs to be done, is a good place to start, says Donnelly.
“If an employee is particularly tired in the morning due to their illness or lack of sleep, they could sleep longer and start work later in the day, or the other way round if they get tired later on. Understanding that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work and that managers need to have good conversations with employees about how they are feeling and what can help is key,” she concludes.