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How To Use The Fit For Work Service To Reduce Sickness Absence

Fit for Work Service



Sickness and absence from work can be a tricky subject to tackle. especially  if you are unsure of the underlying reason for absence. In some cases, the reason for absence may require medical advice. For small businesses at one time such advice may have been beyond their reach.  In January 2015, the government introduced a new Fit for Work service which is open to all businesses who need to get a second medical opinion about the absence of their employees.

The Fit for Work service has been designed to help employers to manage the impact that sickness absence and sick pay has on their business. It will help you to assess the gravity of someone’s condition, and when you can expect them to return to work. You can access all of the information about it from the Fit For Work Service website – there you can get free, impartial advice, and information on the referral systems, such as Occupational Health.

When you consider that in England and Wales alone, each year around 865,000 employee absences last over 4 weeks, it’s easy to see how this can become an issue. There are many advantages for keeping on top of it in a way that complies with the law, including employee satisfaction and productivity being kept at a high level. It’s currently the most effective way to keep the employer and the employee happy.


When it comes to the Fit for Work service, the sickness absence definition refers to someone who has been away from work for more than 4 weeks. Anything before that is called ‘short term sickness’ and is expected to be dealt with as normal. These longer term people are the employees that you can request a sickness absence letter from their GP from, and that can be referred for an assessment with a specialist to conduct a Return to Work Plan – hopefully getting them back into the workplace much quicker than expected.


This is a process that you will be involved with the entire time. With the employee’s consent, the specialist will help you to gain a better understanding of their condition and limitations because of that, any Return to Work recommendations that you can put into place, and target completion dates for all of this. Sometimes just knowing when things are expected to return to normal can take the pressure off of everyone else.

Another advantage came in 1st January 2015. The Government has introduced a tax exemption – limited at £500 per employee – where employers fund the medical costs of treatments recommended by the health care professional, with the aim of getting past those NHS waiting lists, and getting people back to work as soon as possible.

So if you haven’t already gotten involved in the Fit to Work scheme, it’s best to do so now to protect yourself, your business, and your employees in the best way possible.

6 Ways to Recruit More Women In the Tech Sector

Women In The Tech SectorAccording to research presented by Cnet, the numbers of women in the tech sector is dangerously low –as little as 29.1% and it’s dropping rapidly, which means that it really needs to be considered and changed. With so few women within this industry, there is no female influence on the sector that needs it most. Women make up at least half of your customer base, so by not employing them you are missing out on some very important points that could really take your business to another level.

But what strategy for recruitment for women should you employ to try and change this?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

‘Normalize’ it as a career for women

This process needs to start at a young age, because as early as school, girls are gravitated towards other activities. It may be an idea to begin after school clubs aimed at getting females interested in more technical based careers. If this isn’t possible, you may wish to consider higher education facilities to grab the best graduates for your company.

 Prioritize working with women


It might sound a little obvious, but if you design your entire recruitment strategy towards women in the tech sector, it will be more likely to attract their attention. Advertise where they will see it, and create clever advertising campaigns targeted at potential female employees.

Why not try:

  • Sponsoring events where women can network
  • Inviting female speakers to events to give talks
  • Workplace initiatives targeted at female employees

 Consider your workplace environment

If you have always worked in a male dominated environment, and that’s what you’re used to, it might be difficult to see how intimidating it can be for women. If this is the case then you’ll need to be more considerate.

Why not think about:

    • Flexible working hours to suit childcare needs
    • Work from home options
    • Childcare facilities onsite

Leave where necessary for childcare

You may also need to think about a whole new training system for the employees you have, to create the best working environment for everyone.

 Create a great communication system

Ensure that there is a strong system in place to ensure that there is support for your female employees. Of course this important for all your staff, but it’s especially necessary for the underrepresented community.

 Don’t just focus on just younger women in the tech sector


It’s tempting to only consider young women because you know they have a lot of working years within them, but it’s also important to consider women coming back to work after having a baby, or those considering a career change too.

 Be sure to retain your female employees


Once you have women working for you, ensure that they want to remain at your company by keeping them happy. Conduct regular feedback meetings to see if there are any areas in which you can improve with training or new equipement, and ensure that you have a strict anti bullying policy.

Pokemon as Part of an Employee Development Programme

Employee Development Programme

Using Pokémon go as part of an employee development programme

Pokemon Go… it’s officially everywhere! As the number one app all over the world, it really is a craze that has consumed everyone. But how much is it affecting your office environment? With 69% of people admitting to Forbes that they play it at work – some of them for more than an hour a day can it be used as part of an employee development programme?

Here are some great examples of how you can intergrate it into an employee development programme. When it comes to smaller, start up businesses, you have more flexibility to do things in the way that you want, meaning you can turn this craze into a positive for you.

The Boss Who Insists Upon It

 The boss at TNW is insisting that  employees play the game for 30 minutes a day after lunch… for health reasons. Considering the game is getting people out and about walking more, there is definitely a truth to this. Plus it’s a great way to tackle people playing it during working hours – if they have designated time, they won’t be using it during the rest of their shift.

Pokémon as Part of Your Employee Development Programme

 Find ways to incorporate this into your current training and team building exercises to make it more fun. You can build bonds and make your workplace environment much more easy going by ensuring that everyone gets involved. If Pokemon Go is the key to that, then so be it!


Using Lures To Market Your Business

 A ‘lure’ can be placed near a business, at a designated ‘Pokestop’, which generates a greater number of Pokemon, drawing people to your premises. You can even add to this by putting on special offers just for players, or by offering charging stations.


Bond With Your Staff

 One of the best ways you can build a greater communication system and an employee development programme is by playing the game yourself and talking to your staff about it. Having something in common with help blur boundaries  and hierarchies a little, making senior managers much more approachable.


Bond With Your Customers

 Get your staff to talk to players about the game, and encourage people to tag your business in photographs when they catch something. The more people that come looking for Pokemon, the more people will learn about you. This is a great way of building your brand as a business and employer.

This is a craze that may not last forever, so it’s best to use it to your advantage while everyone is mad for it, rather than wasting all your time arguing against it. You cannot track what your staff are doing all the time, so there may be times where they are playing it rather than working. if this is built into an employee development programme with challenges and clear outcomes built in, it can make it a win -win for staff and the business.

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