Do you work in a team with a high degree of absenteeism?

Are you finding that staff are and your organisation are being impacted by absenteeism? Are you wanting to find ways to reduce absenteeism?

Are you looking to help to increase your staff’s and your own well-being?

A report by Gallup carried out on over 100,000 American employees found that unhappy work staff took on average, 15 days extra sick leave per year. That’s a staggering amount of sick days, not to mention the lost productivity, extra burden on colleagues who have to cover the work and also the potential negative impact on staff morale.

In the UK, a PwC study showed that on average, 9.1 sick days were being taken per year at a frightening cost of GBP 29 billion per year to UK businesses.

As a result, companies are looking at ways to proactively reduce absenteeism and illness amongst staff, manage the willingness of staff to be absent due to a minor illness and find ways to enable a speedy recovery and return to work. Fortunately, as a scientific field of research, positive psychology has focused on, amongst other things, how people become happier, flourish and develop their strengths. This research can be applied in the workplace to help reduce absenteeism and the number of days staff are absent due to sickness.

How positive psychology can reduce absenteeism

1.     Find tasks that your staff thrive at and which allow them to play to their strengths. Strengths are an important concept in positive psychology. When we are able to apply our strengths more often at work, we tend to be happier in our job and have greater well-being. Notice when people are performing well in their job and appear to be energised. See if you can find ways to assign similar tasks to a colleague as may find that this brings about higher work engagement. If you’re working on activities that you enjoy and are good at, it can increase well-being, job satisfaction and

2.     Find out what motivates your staff and set goals for them accordingly. In positive psychology, hope theory, consists of 3 concepts: goals, willpower and pathways to achieve your goal. Increasing hope in staff has been shown to reduce the number of days taken off sick. If you can align the motivations of your staff to the tasks that need to be carried out for the organisation when setting goals and objectives for them, you are more likely to have fewer work sick days. Research has shown that people higher in hope[1]  take greater care of their health, e.g. exercise, and have a stronger ability to cope with stress and pain, than people with lower levels of hope.

3.     Help to build the resilience of your staff, so that they are able to bounce-back more quickly from setbacks. If you or your staff are experiencing high workloads or are suffering from stress, encourage a growth mindset by seeing how you and your staff can learn from the setback or stressful situation and generating ideas about what you could do differently, to successfully manage a similar scenario. Taking the perspective of a growth mindset can build resilience and buffer against stress, which may be the cause of sick days at work.

At Positive Psychology Learning, we bring the research in the field of positive psychology and enable you to apply the methods in your work, so that you are able to achieve your desired outcomes.

To find out more about how positive psychology can reduce absenteeism, using strengths, resilience, growth mindset and emotions, please join us on our UK university accredited Introduction to Positive Psychology course. Alternatively, if you would like us to come and run a course for your organisation, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements in more detail.


Experience (is) the difference!