Corporate sport: a solution to absenteeism

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So, how was your vacation? What do you mean?

You're worried about the job! Already!

Too many... Too many employee absences? Yes, I read that somewhere.

I know what you mean, the company is falling behind, and if you add the difficulties of recruiting, you're worried about the start of the new school year...

What if I told you there was a simple solution to employee absenteeism? Sport!

No, it's not a myth! Here's a quick explanation.

2023: record absenteeism?

According to the Absenteeism Barometer 2023 carried out by IFOP for Malakoff Humanis, absenteeism is at its highest this year...

50% of employees stopped at least once this year!

An increase of 8 points on last year and 14 points since 2020...

And it's not likely to go down: only 48% of employees consider themselves to be in "good mental and physical health". Not exactly a festive mood!

Source: Absenteeism Barometer 2023, Malakoff Humanis counter

This was already the case in 2022!

According to the insurer Axa and its Datascope l'observatoire de l'absentéisme (2023), 44% of employees were off work at least once a year.

Bear in mind that in 2019, we were only talking about 30%, i.e. one employee in 3.

The progress is significant!

It's short-term stoppages that have increased, and with the Covid19 pandemic, this seems hardly surprising.

But given the continuity of 2023, we can start to see a trend...

How to explain it?

What are the causes?

Ordinary illness will remain the main reason for sick leave in 2023 (28%), closely followed by Covid (17%).

Nothing extraordinary: of course, you can't blame employees for having bronchitis or the flu. And the context of the health crisis has weighed on the health of some. (It is usually considered that there is a structural percentage of 3% that is difficult to reduce).

But there are other reasons for concern:

1. Psychological disorders: 15% of the total

Psychological disorders should not be overlooked: they are the leading cause of long-term sick leave.

32% of long stoppages are due to psychological disorders!

From just 14% in 2020, they have tripled in three years.

These disorders manifest themselves in a variety of ways: chronic stress, anxiety disorders, depressive symptoms, burn-out, etc.

To prevent these disorders, we speak of psychosocial risks: according to theINRS, there are six categories of factors to watch out for.

- Intensity and working time

- Emotional demands

- Lack of autonomy

- Degraded social relations at work

- Conflicting values

- Insecure work situation.

2. Musculoskeletal disorders: 13%.

Before the pandemic, they were the main cause of long-term stoppages.

These are diseases that affect the muscles, tendons and nerves of the shoulders, elbows, wrists or fingers, etc., but also the back in general, with the cervicals or lumbar vertebrae causing pain or discomfort during work.

More than eight out of ten employees (86%) suffer from it, according to an IFOP study for Percko (2022) !

Unsurprisingly, back pain tops the list (69%), followed by neck, knee, wrist and elbow pain...

And with the rise of teleworking, these MSDs are likely to move up the rankings!

According to employees, the main cause of sick leave is their work. They point the finger at the context in which they carry out their tasks, or at management errors...

3. The consequences of inflation

To maintain a decent level of purchasing power, some people don't hesitate to hold down several jobs, to the detriment of their health...

4. The Covid double effect

Not to mention the fact that certain illnesses could not be properly monitored or detected due to a lack of medical follow-up during the period of confinement... All of which weakens employees who could have been treated more quickly without this health crisis.

Who are the most affected?

Although all age categories were affected, it wasthe youngest employees (under 30) who were hardest hit .

Source: Absenteeism Barometer 2023, Malakoff Humanis counter

Their absenteeism rate rose by over 50% between 2019 and 2022. This could be seen as a lack of caution during the Covid 19 crisis, but that would be too simple.

They are among the employees suffering from psychological disorders: the average age of employees on long-term sick leave for psychological reasons has fallen.

But also managers.

53% were off work. Between the stress of the job and the stress of increased absenteeism, managers can't take it anymore.

How much does it cost the company?  

It's expensive!

Imagine a company of 100 people having to do without 7 full-time employees...

AXA estimates that this is equivalent to approximately 4.4% of payroll (2022)!

Between 2019 and 2022, companies saw a 29% increase in direct costs linked to absenteeism.

And that's not counting the indirect costs: lower productivity, the cost of replacing absent employees with temporary or fixed-term contracts, deterioration in service quality, stress for those replacing the absent, etc.

What are the solutions?

Once the problems have been identified, it's time to learn from them and consider experimenting with a few solution options. Here are just a few:

Listening and prevention

We need to act upstream of the problem!

Don't wait until it becomes a major problem for the company.

Discuss, debate and ask your employees questions. Create opportunities for dialogue.

The well-being of your employees is a priority: a little QVCT check-up will never go amiss.

If you don't want to suffer the consequences of absenteeism or other current worries: Big quit, Quiet quitting, or Act your wage...

Take the temperature in your company! And get your employees involved (27% want you to).


Caring management

While stress has many causes, authoritarian and restrictive management can be a major contributor, according to employees.

With the rise of hybrid work, a new management style is emerging. It's based on benevolence and trust.

24% of employees are calling for changes in management practices

Sport as a solution

As we all know, sport has both a physical and a mental impact. So it's an excellent way to boost your employees' health.

If you want to reduce absenteeism, you need to include sport in your intervention strategy.

Sport influences morale through happiness/well-being hormones such as dopamine and endorphin, natural antidotes to stress.

Sport also boosts your immune system, reducing the risk of common illnesses (colds, flu, etc.).

How do you bind your team together? Through sport!

Young talent in particular expects this from their company.

By including sport in your employee well-being policy, you can improve your brand image and retain a number of employees who may be leaving...

Your employees are happy and motivated!

By strengthening team spirit and cohesion through sporting activities, you can help everyone feel more motivated to work and come to the office.

You feel good in your team when you're part of a group playing soccer or volleyball together, and so on.

The good times shared, the healthy sporting competition has positive consequences for the team and the way they work together.

So you can reduce stress, burn-out or any other bad emotion...

By encouraging regular practice and offering your employees the opportunity to do it on site, or to benefit from equipment, rooms or applications dedicated to company sports, you win on many fronts.

Think about it!

Now it's your turn!

You've understood the importance of not neglecting the phenomenon of absenteeism. It has to be taken seriously. But don't be fatalistic!

As you've seen, the solutions exist, and it's up to you to try them out.

Contact us to discuss and implement a wellness policy for your employees, particularly through sport.

We're waiting for you!

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