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2 months ago by Libby McCaughey

Growing trend of "Duvet Days"

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For years companies across the globe have discouraged absence at work. Yet being ill in the office is rapidly becoming the new ‘Frankenstein’ of the corporate world.

On average absenteeism is costing UK Businesses an estimated £29bn annually. On the flip side, for every £1 that it cost a workplace of absenteeism, presenteeism costs £2.50. Over 70% of those businesses surveyed admitted that absences have directly affected profitability, yet more than a third have no idea how much exactly it is costing them.

Both absenteeism and presenteeism are dramatically affecting your companies’ profits, and it seems to be a viscous unbreakable circle. If employees are ill and cannot come in your profit margins drop but if they are ill and do come in your profit margins drop over twice as much. While there may be no quick fix, in recent years studies have shown the positive impact flexible working can have on your business.

So, where do you start?  In 2017 131.2 million working days were lost to sickness (an average 6.6 days off each year) and 10% of those were due to stress, depression and anxiety. CIPD figures show that stress is one of the biggest causes of unplanned absence in the workplace. While you’ll never be able to entirely eliminate stress from the workplace, there is a way to manage it.

Duvet days allow employees a rare opportunity to put their needs first, doing wonders for their overall mental health and wellbeing. Let’s be honest no job is perfect, and no one can be bright-eye and enthusiastic 100% if the time. Most jobs are inherently high-pressure, and many businesses operate to tight deadlines.

If your employees are reaching a breaking point and you find sickness absences are spiking why not trial offering duvet days. They are a great way of managing workplace stress and send a strong message that you trust your employees and that you have a genuine care for their wellbeing.

It’s important to identify that duvet days would be suitable for your business; some sectors require employees to be in a specific place for a specific amount of time. But if you feel like your business could operate with a more flexible working plan here are a few tips on how you can effectively incorporate duvet days into your workplace culture.

  1. 4-day week

If your employees will be spending one day a week in bed, then they will need to make the time up elsewhere. Consider shifting from five seven-hour working days to four nine-hour working days. Studies have shown working longer days overall can boost productivity, reduce stress levels and improve employee work-life balance. Take a deeper look in how your organisation can benefit from shorter working weeks.

  1. Implement the right systems

Tracy Nolan from PressPlug’s said that she was able to offer her team duvet days because the business operated with a cloud-based system. If you are considering offering your employees duvet days, you will have to consider the technologies that will enable to get there.

  1. Be clear

In effect a duvet day is another form of absence, so its imperative employees understand what counts as a duvet day (and what doesn’t) and for them to have a clear outline of what will be expected of those who wish to take one.

  1. Shortfalls

Manages only approve annual leave requests when they can ensure that their absence won’t be an issue for the business and the rest of the team. The same should be true for duvet days.

e-Days absences management system is an effective tool for both employees and managers to simultaneously see who will be in on any given day at a glance, making it easy to see whether that duvet day will cause, and problems and the request approved in moments.

If you think a member of your team may be a little stressed and over-whelmed, allowing them the opportunity to take some time out at home might make all the difference in helping them feel more refreshed and in turn be more productive.

Let us know your thoughts and what your plans are to observe and implement duvet days in your organisation.