The emerging workplace challenges we are seeing today highlight a generation shift that creates new demands on employers. Sick-leave is in itself becoming more complex and the challenge for leaders to keep a healthy, productive and happy workforce have never been greater. In particular, we see that leaders need to give greater focus on organising work in accordance with an employees Workability and enable them to be at work as much as their health allows.
Employers in general know too little about health and doctors have too little information about a patients workplace. One major frustration we hear from leaders is that the doctor is the gatekeeper of sick leave, but they are not available or involved in finding the facilitation solution to keep the employee in work, or the follow-up to help the employee back to full work.
More than 33% of employees say they want their doctor to be included in their workplace welfare and sick-leave follow-up.
Sensitivity around the doctor sharing information with the employer without them being present is one major hurdle. Another is the time doctors have to follow-up employers for patients work information and options. Often, employees are asked by doctors to check with their workplace what facilitation options they have. But limited internal process, a lack of open-dialogue around workplace health and workability and sometimes a lack of interest from leaders to offer facilitated work options, means employees are hesitant to ask.
Employees suffer longer and fuller sick leave than necessary. The state and companies cover the costs – which today exceed 50bn NOK in norway alone. But with co-ordinated sick-leave management, that includes the doctor, occupational health services and other key employment stakeholders up to 70% of this sick-leave can be avoided.