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Andrew T. Austin
West Sussex
Tel: 07838 387580

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Business Solutions - Managing Chronic Absenteeism

The Chronically Absent Employee

'When faced with difficulty, certain employees will go 'on the sick".  Meanwhile, the motivated employee faced with the same problem will either address the issue and resolve it, or will simply leave to find a better suited job.
Therefore in an effective organisation, when dealing with the chronically absent employee, our solution is to build motivation.' Andrew T. Austin, Briefing Report 2004.

Stress Management Workshops

It is estimated that in the UK at least 40 million working days are lost each year due to the effects of stress.  But the cost to industry doesn't end there, because the figure only relates to actual absences from work.  Stress produces several other effects.  Over-stressed employees at any level of a company are inefficient employees.  At clerical and operative level, stress might reveal itself in carelessness, poor timekeeping and absenteeism.  Whilst at more senior levels, creativity, judgement and decision making skills are affected.

It would be unrealistic to talk about eliminating stress.  On the other hand, learning how to manage stress is something that everybody can do and benefit enormously from, which is why I offer Stress Management Training for people at work.

In groups of no more than 15 people, the one-day course focuses on them.  The people you select to send on the course fill in a detailed questionnaire and the course content is tailored to their specific needs as opposed to a pre-scripted power point presentation, which may or may not be relevant to the group.

For this I charge £1500 for the full day.   All you need to provide is a suitable training room, refreshments, a white board and flipchart stand.

Your employees will come back from their course of Stress Management refreshed, confident and relaxed.  But more importantly, permanent effects can be achieved with everyone who follows our simple programme of post course practice.  To help to ensure that course participants continue to progress and develop their skills, I like to arrange a follow-up session six months after the course.  The increased efficiency of the employees you have selected for training will repay their course fees many times over, whilst the personal benefits which each individual experiences from attending a course promotes a sense of appreciation that they are employed by a caring employer.


Who should attend

Virtually every large organisation is afflicted with a number of employees who present stress issues.  Here are just some of the stereotypical examples:

The Never Here.  This is the employee who continually manages to present a sick-note for their absences and knows exactly how to manipulate the system.  They manage to retain their employment for years yet seem to be absent for long periods more often than they are actually at work.

The Frequent Flyer.  This is the employee who seems pleasant enough but also appears to be so unlucky.  Their Fridays and Mondays are ruined so regularly with '`flu', 'stomach upset', 'food poisoning', 'very bad cold' and so on. 

The 'High Karate' Kid.  This is the employee who is the smooth charmer, tends to smell of cheap aftershave and thinks he hides his drink problem well.  He isn't as dumb as he appears and knows how to play the system to his eternal advantage.

The Management Blamer.  This is the employee who sees all management as the enemy from which he needs to protect himself.  He's the intelligent low-achiever who always knows best.  He also knows how to evade all personal responsibility and frequently exploits character weaknesses in anyone senior to him.

The Hopeless Depressive.  She's on the happy pills and has been for years even though they don't help.  Bad luck seems to afflict her and her family as she lurches from one crisis to another.  At work she commands continual sympathy and has to be handled with kid gloves.  There is always yet another 6-week sick note just round the corner and the staff counsellor dreads your next referral.

The Punisher.  This is the stoical guy who wishes he lived back in the heady days when the Unions ruled the world with a rule of iron.  He resists change, baits management continually and keeps a mental diary of all petty transgressions he observes.  He thoroughly enjoys being his manager's worst nightmare and knows it.

The Weirdo.  This is the employee who looked good at interview despite his bad skin but suffers terribly from poor social skills in the work place.  An atmosphere of awkwardness follows him everywhere he goes.  He responds poorly to encouragement to be more sociable and is terrified of the pretty admin assistant. 

The Pleaser.  This employee suffers high anxiety levels but strangely doesn't yet know it.  They've been that way for so long, they have forgotten what it was like before.  They bow, they scrape and the grovel in their desperate attempts to please.  They are devastated at the slightest criticism and elicit an annoyed pity from everyone around them.

'We have all experienced 'Death by Power Point' at least once.  The main problem about pre-scripted Power Point presentations is that they tend to be largely irrelevant to the audience who often have paid in excess of £200 a day each to be there.  The use of Power Point does little to enhance learning by the audience, but does everything for the presenter who lacks the flexibility to respond to each new audience.' Andrew T. Austin, Briefing Report 2004.

What is covered on the training

Each employee is asked to fill in a questionnaire prior to the training.  The majority of the training is based on the individuals attending and is not a pre-scripted 'power-point presentation'.  Listed here are just some of the common areas that feature on such trainings.

  • How to have that Friday feelingon a Monday!
  • How to manage that employee or colleague that you simply do not like but cannot avoid.
  • When 'reassurance' and 'approval' turns bad - what every employee and manager needs to know.
  • How to get that good night's sleep when a thing at work continues to bug you.
  • Why should I be the one to suffer stress management classes when it is all management's fault that I am stressed in the first place?!
  • When you want something doing, give it to the busy guy
  • I'm the busy guy, so why do they keep giving me more work?
  • Moaners and Complainers - Dealing effectively (no weapons) with those employees/colleagues that are the main vectors of stress.
  • Managers - how to work for the manager who is at his/her most effective when he is anywhere but here.
  • Self-empowerment - how to have it and how to use it to your advantage.
  • Long term sickness absence with 'stress' - what to do about it.
  • Self-hypnosis, tips and tricks from NLP and a technique from meditation masters.

How to Organise The One Day Complete Stress Solutions Seminar

  •  Identify up to 15 of your most 'at risk' employees.
    Consider employees who are currently away on long-term sickness absence with mental health or stress related issues.
  • Contact Andrew T. Austin to arrange a preliminary meeting to discuss specific requirements and organise suitable seminar date.
  • Collect survey forms and pre-addressed envelopes and distribute these to the identified employees.  You will need to chase these up to ensure all are returned by the pre-arranged date.
  • Ensure an adequate sized training room is available with refreshments throughout the day.  I'll also need a flip chart stand and whiteboard.


Please contact Andrew T. Austin with any questions and for any advice regarding Stress Solutions Trainings.