Supporting our clients, 24/7
Delivering world-class admin support

How much are rising sickness levels costing your organisation?

How much are rising sickness levels costing your organisation?

According to the CIPD’s ‘Health and wellbeing at work’ report published in September 2023, workers in the UK are taking more sick days than at any point during the last decade. In the preceding year, employees took an average of 7.8 sick days, up from 5.8 before the pandemic. A recent report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, estimates this is costing the country’s economy around £43bn a year. 

More worryingly for the corporate sector, while the report findings showed that smaller organisations tended to have lower sickness absence rates (with 5.0 days per employee recorded for employers with 50 or fewer staff), the figure for organisations with 5,000 or more people rose to 13.3 days per annum.

Among the reasons cited for this continuing increase in sickness absence are ongoing physical and mental effects of Covid-19, and increased stress and mental health issues caused by heavy workloads and today’s ‘always on’ working culture.


Analysing the financial impact

So how much will an annual employee sickness figure of 13.3 days cost your organisation? The financial impact of high sickness rates to business are well documented, including:

  • Cost of salaries for sick days
  • Reduced productivity
  • Lower quality of work
  • Training and overtime payments for covering staff
  • Related increased financial risks resulting from errors, claims and legal disputes.

On top of that, organisations also need to manage the knock-on effect of potentially reduced customer satisfaction, increased workload, and lower morale for other employees.

Exposure to the risks associated with such high sickness rates clearly make it difficult for organisations to optimise ROI and deliver consistency of service. As a result, increasing numbers of businesses are analysing the true cost of employment and unproductive time, while looking for more innovative ways to support resilience, minimise risk and maximise business performance.


Outsourcing as a solution

One increasingly common solution is to outsource non-core activities to a third party partner. When it works well, this approach keeps business support headcount lean, while improving efficiency and profitability.

With recent research cited by forecasting a global outsourcing spend of £571 billion, and over 70% of decision-makers saying their company has outsourced some part of their business, outsourcing of business support activities is rapidly becoming a credible and enticing option for chief finance officers across a range of business sectors.

Sparked in part by the widespread rise in sickness levels, SmartPA is partnering with many corporate organisations to deliver a host of business support solutions, either on a retained basis or via standalone contracts, to cover both short term absence and longer-term leave, such as maternity cover. Traditionally, companies have turned to ‘temps’ and interim solutions, but this can be costly, and can also bring new sets of challenges. By contrast, SmartPA integrates with businesses as an extension of their team while adopting an ‘always on’ consultative approach.


Tackling the source of rising sickness levels

Faced with the tide of rising sickness level, many organisations are responding by providing support for wellbeing issues throughout the employee lifecycle.

At SmartPA, we’ve always been passionate about our people’s wellbeing and about understanding what makes them tick as individuals. If we know what makes our people happy, then we’re better placed to offer support when it’s needed. This extends to taking a proactive approach to sickness by providing a number of wellbeing initiatives to our outsourced teams, including our own wellbeing channel that contains a wide range of resources designed to help our people focus on their own wellbeing and ensure a happy work/life balance. Ultimately what it all boils down to is this: we know that if our people are happy, our clients will be happy too.


About SmartPA

SmartPA is a pioneer of remote, outsourced admin and business support, providing individual SmartPAs, multi-skilled cross-functional teams, and full lift and drop admin process outsourcing. Working with more than 5,000 businesses of all sizes world-wide, SmartPA draws on a global talent pool of accredited SmartPAs, with a Centre of Excellence based in the UK, near shore hubs in South Africa and Uganda, and an offshore hub in Malaysia.

Get in touch

Sign up for our business news where we share growth, productivity and cost saving news.