If your staff feel that they have been given a decent wedge of time off, they are less likely to pull sickies. UK workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid annual leave - 28 days for someone working five days a week. However, this can include bank holidays (there will be nine official bank holidays in 2012).
Often companies will allocate just 20 days to employees. That's four weeks out of 52 in the year. If you are a small business, it can be really hard to allow your employees more days off. Consider introducing a Duvet Day scheme, giving staff a maximum of two or three duvet days a year, when they can call in and claim a day for themselves at no notice.
There are lots of little, inexpensive things that you can do to make your staff happier at their desks. From ergonomic keyboards to reduce the risk of RSI, to posture-correcting office chairs and wrist rests, there are a host of smart gadgets to keep your staff free from aches and pains when working long hours at their desks. Consider buying fruit for the office once a week to keep vitamin levels topped up too. Remember: prevention is better than cure.
There have been a number of studies into absenteeism at the office showing that workplaces which are designed to let in more natural light have happier, more engaged staff. Make sure that, when choosing an office space, or arranging office furniture, you sit staff near windows, in bright areas.
We've also had a look at some of the colour palettes that help employees to work more effectively. Green is a safe bet. And, speaking of green, don't forget to get a few plants in. Having verdant, flowering and growing things in the office is a proven mood enhancer. If real plants are too much hassle, you can even go faux!
By creating a genuine community in your office, you create a great atmosphere and a happy, cohesive workforce. From team days out to team meetings and extracurricular bonding activites - pub quiz or fantasy football anyone? - you can make people really want to come in to work.
Have a system in place whereby staff must log their absence details with management once they have returned to work. Also, make sure that employees have to call in every day that they are absent to update you on the progress of their illness. It may sound draconian, but the longer staff have to wait before answering to you about their absence, the longer the absence is likely to last.