Steps to take to maintain contact with
staff who are off sick
Keeping in touch with staff who are off
sick is a key factor in helping them return to work. The line manager or
supervisor should do this in most cases.
Making contact can be a sensitive topic
as some staff may fear that they are being pressed to return to work before
they are ready, may dislike being called at home when they have fit notes, and
the intrusive nature of the calls.
Without any contact staff that have been
away from work for several weeks can start to feel out of touch, not cared for,
Their return to work is made harder for
them with no contact as they soon begin to lose their self-esteem.
Do’s and don'ts!
- Take time to get to know your staff.
- Create a culture of trust.
- When arranging to keep in touch, agree
method and frequency.
- Be fair and consistent with all staff.
- Keep a note of contact.
- Arrange to have a supportive conversation
with the employee, ask how they are, where they are in terms of a return to
feeling well. If appropriate are they ready to start thinking about a return to
- The first few seconds of a call are
crucial in determining a successful outcome. Build trust, empathise, and have
an understanding approach.
- Ask if they are happy with you being the
point of contact.
- Be respectful and not blame the employee
for being off.
- When ringing – make sure you are relaxed
and free of pressure yourself. Remember the employee may well be anxious in
anticipation of your call.
- Put off making contact or pass over to
someone else unless there are sound reasons for doing so (e.g. a breakdown in
relationship/ conflict or you may be the cause of the absence).
- Make assumptions about their situation or
- Talk to or email others without the
person’s knowledge or permission.
- Put pressure on the employee to discuss
their condition if they are not forthcoming.
- Put pressure on employee to discuss their
return before they are ready.
- Say that colleagues are under pressure or
the work is piling up.
Finally it is
important to keep communication channels open friendly and positive.
Remember that recovery times are
different from person to person.