Here are four tips to help minimise the impact:
1: Communicate with employees
Absences due to illness can be particularly stressful for a manager, as you may only get a few hours to find a replacement. Research suggests that regular sick leave is commonly taken by employees who feel overworked or stressed in the workplace. Thinking about the welfare of your staff, and openly communicating with them about their workloads, can help mitigate the amount of sick leave taken. Ask staff how they are feeling, be empathetic to their responses, and listen to feedback on how to best help their situation.
2. Train your staff across multiple skills
Having staff who are competent across several roles can help ease the burden of employees being away. The ability to take your kitchen staff and put them front of house for a shift – or have your wait-staff serving at the bar – gives you the flexibility to change your roster at a moment’s notice. Teach staff these extra skills during quiet times, so that the training itself doesn’t become a disruption.
3: Have a system in place to record future leave
If employees are planning a holiday for later in the year, have been invited to a special event (like a wedding for example), or are planning to take advantage of the Easter or Christmas break, they will often book leave months in advance. Make a record of this so that you and other staff don’t get caught out when the time comes. Don’t use post-it-notes either – make sure it’s recorded somewhere reliable, in a system like goRoster, for example.
4: Ensure you have dependable backup
Unfortunately, leave can’t always be planned. Sickness and bereavement are part of life, so you always need to plan for them. Create a shortlist of dependable people that you can call on when you require staff at short notice. This will save you a lot of stress when you need to make quick rostering changes.