Handling team absences

Employees may need time off for a variety of reasons, from short-term sickness to long-term or chronic illness. With school management teams tending to be quite tight-knit, an absence can prove challenging

As many absences are unpredictable, it is good practice to have a strategic absentee policy in place. A well-established and clear absentee policy will ensure that both you and your team know the procedures and policy in place if there is an absence.

It is key that you and your team are adaptable and flexible so that, when there is an unexpected absence, it doesn’t lead to panic; being flexible means that you and your team are quick to adapt to the situation to ensure that the absence doesn’t lead to school business being halted.

As well as having a flexible attitude in work, it may also be worth enabling flexible working within your organisation; if employees can perform some work-related tasks from home, it means that a day of work is not lost if they are not able to make it into the office.

Another part of the strategy could include making sure specific jobs crossover between staff so that there is always an expert on hand; this will ensure that tasks can still be carried out to a high standard when someone is away. If there is no crossover of skills and knowledge then tasks normally done by the absentee will either not be completed or be completed to a poorer standard whilst they are away.

Long term absences

Although being flexible, and having a crossover of skills, can alleviate the negative impact of an absence in the short term, long term absences will need to be dealt with differently. It is advisable to have strong connections with a temporary recruitment company so that, if an employee is going to be absent for a long period of time, you can ensure their position will be filled until they return.

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It is always important to keep in close contact with a colleague who is absent and this is especially important during a long-term absence. This is important for both you and your colleague as it is vital for you to have updates on when they might be back and it is beneficial for them to know you care about checking in on how they are.

Although absences can often be unavoidable and unexpected, they don’t have to cause major disruption. If you have a strategic absentee policy, and build a team based on flexibility, then you should be able to cope when an absence occurs.

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