Checklist: Why telehealth is critical to cutting the cost of absenteeism

The pandemic has flipped the script on ways of working, forcing organisations to rethink how to manage absenteeism and wellbeing in more efficient, agile and innovative ways. In this article, we take a look at how telehealth can play a critical role in absence management at a time when Australia is witnessing unprecedented levels of absenteeism.

A costly problem

Workforce absenteeism is having significant impacts on the costs of operations, missed service levels, customer frustration, and workforce health and retention. The issue is further exacerbated by the shortage in available workers, with unemployment at record lows.

All of this is occurring against the backdrop of mounting insurance risk for workers’ compensation claims, with psychological injuries expected to outweigh physical injuries and ongoing workplace health and safety duty of care for businesses across the country.

Businesses are now scrambling to deal with the increasing volume of absenteeism across sectors. They’re figuring out how to best manage it, whilst also retaining focus on effectively  bolstering workplace wellbeing to attract and retain the best available talent.

It’s no wonder there is an increased interest in the role of telehealth as an essential tool to support the mental and physical wellbeing of workers, and support worker attendance in these uncertain times. 

Smart ways to leverage telehealth 

Below are a few key insights into how to leverage telehealth to build a resilient workforce: 

  • Telehealth software allows HR to continue to monitor the health and wellbeing of your workforce remotely
  • All HR functions, including onboarding, case management, and return to work interviews can be undertaken using telehealth software remotely
  • A reliable telehealth solution can help you accurately identify injury or mental health risks of a remote workforce
  • Predictive capabilities of telehealth software can recommend ‘next best actions’ for further support
  • Telehealth software tracks all activity and offers best-practice automation of processes and extra support for the health of a workforce, ensuring no one ‘slips through the cracks’
  • Mental health is a significant issue and needs to be managed to not only ensure your employees are efficient, but that they are getting the help they need, when they need it
  • A telehealth option is an excellent way to manage your remote workforce while recommending next best actions so everyone stays happy, healthy and positive

Centralise your absence reporting with an Absence Line

The provision of a dedicated Absence Line to report an absence 24/7/365 allows employees to make one call to report an absence, speak to someone about their absence and ensure absence information is correctly captured. 

Benefits of this approach include:

  • Early notification alerts of absence sent in real-time 
  • Consistent communication of policies and procedures 
  • Accurate data reporting and data collection 
  • Human interaction is more robust than leaving a message or sending an SMS 
  • Immediate and confidential advice and support for employees

Invest in 24x7 Employee Health Support 

Most organisations operate around the clock. We also know in the post-pandemic era that many absences are for genuine reasons and often are for mild and moderate illnesses that can be effectively managed over the phone by trained Telehealth Nurses. 

Benefits of this approach include:

  • Health advice and guidance for employees 24x7 
  • Early intervention for cases, such as mental health and minor illnesses 
  • Referral to EAP and other support services 
  • Ongoing support during absence

Discover who is getting it right. How this hospitality leader slashed absenteeism by 22% saving $1.2m per annum

At DHS, we pride ourselves in creating a holistic approach to absence management that consistently delivers exceptional results for our clients, helping reduce absenteeism by up to 40%. Here is an example of a leading organisation that we worked with who reaped significant cost savings and boosted its bottom line thanks to a robust absence management program.

For this 24-hour Australian hospitality business, staying in operation involves managing roughly 1,800 staff, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So it’s not surprising that managing absenteeism started to become an increasing challenge.

The Challenge

  • Absenteeism managed by cumbersome spreadsheets made it difficult to track trends, help staff recover or target efforts to proactively reduce absenteeism
  • Managers wasted too much time managing absenteeism and trying to find replacement staff on the fly

  • High absenteeism rate meant sections of the business would have to be closed while replacement staff were sourced, leading to a significant loss of revenue

The Solution

  • DHS Telehealth and Workforce Analytics Solution
  • Outsourcing of staff absenteeism management, as well as facilitating data capturing to track trends and issues while improving staff care
  • DHS set up a direct reporting hotline for staff to call in absent and made a nurse available to answer staff queries and offer personalised health care where necessary
  • When staff members call the hotline to report they are not coming in, a DHS nurse takes the call and then forwards the relevant information to managers, allowing them to find a replacement

The Results

  • 22% reduction in absenteeism
  • $1.2 million saved annually
  • 95% of back-to-work discussions completed within 24 hours
  • Provide personalised health care and attention to staff with a nurse-led service

Social 5 telehealth

Ready to future proof your workplace, build business resilience and curb the short- and long-term impacts of absenteeism?

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