THE BLOG

How to Avoid Sick Days by Increasing Emotional Health

24/06/2014 10:01 BST | Updated 23/08/2014 10:59 BST

I am often asked to go into a company and shake it up a little to make enough changes so productivity and hence profits increase. I love that my job allows me to do something different every day. Today, I was in a meeting and the company who was considering using my services asked how I create changes in people that they have not been able to address or even notice. This is not the first time I have been asked this question, so I thought I would write an article on how change can be achieved.

Now I know I am an invaluable commodity be it in the reduction of sick leave, or increasing confidence in public speakers or helping people understand their environment but I also believe that anyone can achieve the results required if they have the right approach. The best way to increase trust and productivity is to actually care about the project, the firm and all its counterparts.

I often have to find a tactful way of telling a firm that whatever they have been doing is clearly not working at optimum and then proceed to highlight some of their current areas that can be improved. Focusing on areas of perceived failure is never pretty but I am paid to have those difficult conversations with people, the conversations they don't want to hear. And I love it, not because I like to be the bearer of harsh news but because I believe if you shift to the right focus and provide people the power of possibilities, you can achieve the extraordinary. Being at the beginning of a journey is just as important as reaching your goal, because truth be told, once you reach your original outcome with the knowledge that so much more is possible you will find you constantly want to move forwards, progressing to an even brighter future and moving away from the challenges that once seemed so overwhelming.

So how do I do this and how can you? I take a 3 pronged approach. I use my psychotherapy and hypnotherapy skills, both in the prevention of the necessity for personal days and in the validating of private issues while I indirectly use my talents as a truth detection consultant reducing the number of attempts at fabrication of information. The final piece of the puzzle is to use personality typing to complement the other strategies to uncover inter-work place conflict before it arises or diffuse that which has already risen resulting in a happier more productive workplace.

But what does that actually mean. It means I come into the firm and I rip apart the negative belief systems in place to build it back up. That nothing gets by me and I don't accept limiting beliefs. A large proportion of workers are not happy, they lie to themselves and they lie to their colleagues and superiors just to make it through the day. In the absence of hiring a consultant to shake up the firm, you can approach this yourself on a smaller scale by finding out what beliefs are not working for your employees and work towards re-aligning those beliefs into helpful, powerful, positive beliefs that aim to motivate and drive the whole team forward. A collective work ethos, one that shows that you care about your profits, but you also care about the quality of your employee's daily life both in and out of work is essential. To get your employee to open up you need to develop trust, and trust only comes if and when you prove that although their needs may not be your obligation, that you are aware of your employees needs and not only will you not use anything they say against them but you will actually help them, even if such help is just in the form of listening. It is far easier with a trained third party, but with sick days increasing it is an area that needs addressing quickly.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated that in 2013 over 130 million days were lost due to employees calling in sick. This rate has increased since the recession first hit. The party line is that employers would be well advised to deal with the issues of sickness and workplace absence head on to reduce the serious impact sick days have on both the efficiency of their company and profit margins. UK men have been shown in a recent poll to be the biggest culprits of taking personal days with 25 percent having stated a personal issue as the reason for their last day off work. Women fair only slightly better at 18 percent.

The same poll also found that UK workers were more than four times as likely to feign illness to get time off work compared with their European counterparts, meaning there is potentially at least a four fold scope for reduction of sick days in the workplace in the UK.

I invite you to shake up your firm, whether you are an employer or an employee and help address the issue of diminishing emotional health in firms, be it by suggesting a life coach or by tackling the solution yourself.

If you'd like to connect with Sloan directly you can do so via her website or via email at huffpost@sloansw.com.