As a leader, it can be pretty stressful when members of your team go sick. A reduced workforce means an increased workload for your remaining team members. It could even lead to lost prophets. It’s no wonder, then, that many managers pressure staff back into returning as soon as possible.
In reality, though, rushing staff back to work is counterproductive in two significant ways. For one, it can undo the team morale which is so essential for a productive workforce. In extreme cases, it could even lead to losing the individual in question on a permanent basis. On top of which, pushing people back into the office could lead to shoddy work and even longer recovery times.
When you consider that, it’s easy to see why you need to leave employees until they feel ready to return. You should also take proper care over employees returning after an absence. Those coming back after a day or two can probably jump straight in. But, if team members are away for a week or more, the transition period won’t be as straightforward. Hence why you should consider the following pointers to ensure their return runs smoothly.
Arrange a back to work meeting with the right focus
Many managers have back to work meeting policies. This is a meeting between you and your team member which should occur before their return. The trouble here is that many managers use this is a disciplinary measure, thus making returns stressful. Instead, ensure this meeting has the health of your colleague in mind. Don’t guilt-trip them or put sanctions for further absences in place. Instead, use this as what it’s meant to be – a chance to check they’re okay. Ask them how they’re feeling, and take note of their body language. If they still seem unwell, it’s a sign they’re forcing themselves back to work too early. In that case, either send them home or…
Find flexible ways to ease them back
In some cases, money worries leave staff returning too soon. But, as well as putting their recovery at risk, an unwell team member leaves everyone else open to illness. To avoid that, develop flexible working plans. It may be that they come back on a half-day basis. By turning to a company which offers cloud computing solutions for businesses, you could even allow them to work from home with ease. The main thing is that you reach a solution which both you and the individual are happy with. Brainstorm ideas together, and remember that health, not business, is the focus here.
Keep an eye on progress
Even once the employee is back in the office, keep a close on their progress. Bear in mind, though, that you aren’t doing this to come down hard if you catch them underperforming. Instead, you’re keeping an eye to make sure they settle back in well. If you spot anything worrying during this period, arrange further meetings to work out new ways to put well being first.