Sickness absence and Brexit: the complex debate over the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union has employers and employees alike concerned.  A looming Brexit is creating economic uncertainty, perhaps even a potential recession.

Businesses are concerned over access to markets and a possible squeeze on cash flow. Charities and non-profits are apprehensive over the effects on fundraising and cuts to current government and local government income streams. Both sectors are seeking to maximise current resources to get the best out of what, and who, they already have in an uncertain economic environment.

Employees are caught up in the national psyche of insecurity, helplessness and frustration, even fear. There are concerns over a dilution of legal protection once Brexit is complete. Vulnerable workers want to know they are protected especially in matters of safety, health, and sickness absence. They therefore need reassurance that their rights are being upheld and their wellbeing is being supported.

As an employer, minimising sickness absence and reassuring employees is one element of maximising resources. Finding new and innovative new ways to do this is key at a time of uncertainty.

New ways of accessing Occupational Health support

Occupational health, which includes employee wellness as well as injury and sickness prevention and care, contributes greatly to the success of an organisation. Workers feel supported and employers have access to high quality employee health and advice expertise. At a time of Brexit uncertainty this is crucial.

Historically, referrals to Occupational Health have often been regarded as expensive, overly paper based and time-consuming for both employer and employee. Now, however, there are new “lean” ways, which make use of technology, of accessing and utilising high quality Occupational Health sickness absence services. This makes such services accessible and affordable for SMEs, non-profits and larger businesses alike.

Benefits of “lean” Occupational Health services

There is now available easily access, affordable, high quality, occupational health assessments. For example, an affordable pay-as-you-go, tele-health assessment service. It enables staff to connect with a highly qualified OH professional quickly and easily without the need for time-consuming travel and excess paperwork

This is how it works;

  • A secure referral and report release through a secure on-line portal.
  • Helpful questions provided in the referral for the referrer to select, as well as space to ask other ones.
  • The employee logs in and completes a short health history which gives the OH Advisor or Physician more information up front, enabling them to maximise the appointment time.
  • The employee selects and books their own appointment which is then confirmed with the individual and the referrer and/or HR notified as well.
  • The assessment takes place by telephone or Skype with a qualified health professional.

Is this as effective as face-to face sickness absence case management?

We’ve found over 80% of case management sessions don’t require complex medical assessments. The majority can be addressed with advice from a qualified, experienced health professional. This enables the employer and your employee to resolve the issue before it develops into a more serious matter. The quality of the advice is not compromised, and the method of delivery is quick, easy and streamlined.

Benefits of technology-assisted sickness absence management

 This kind of service speeds-up and reduces the cost of OH health assessments, also making them affordable for SMEs and non-profits. Organisations comply with legal requirements and can easily provide pro-active sickness absence management support. This in turn reduces long-term & multiple absence and increases staff retention, enabling any-sized organization to maximise resources.

Brexit and sickness absence management

Although organisations and employees may have to adopt a wait and see attitude as Brexit events unfold, more emphasis is being put on making the effort to understand the commercial effects of Brexit on organisations. Managing sickness absence is one essential aspect of this, especially for those who may be impacted long-term by Brexit. Finding new leaner ways to manage and reduce sickness absence benefits both employer and employee.

Health in Action is an Occupational and Workplace Health provider which aims to transform the lives of organisations and individuals by empowering them to manage their workplace and personal health in a sound and constructive way, through applied expertise, innovation and relationships. Our EasyACCESS™ service is an affordable pay-as-you-go, tele-health assessment service.