In 2021, 149.3 million working days were lost due to sickness in the UK.

As an employer it would be easy to look at the financial impact this has on your business, let it dictate what you offer your employees and even how you treat them while they’re off sick.

At the end of July, my husband and I found out I was pregnant. We were over the moon, but I couldn’t help feeling anxious. I suffered from severe sickness for months during my first pregnancy. That was during lockdown, so I was able to hide in my house, away from triggering smells and from having to appear ‘normal’ when in the office.

During the first few weeks of this pregnancy, I plodded along not wanting to share my news so early on. Every day it got a little harder to think straight as the nausea grew more intense. Until week six, when I was no longer able to get out of bed.

To say I was gutted that I felt worse than last time, is an understatement. I was enjoying working on some great projects both in Home and with our clients. Reluctantly, I called the doctor and they diagnosed Hyperemesis Gravidarum. They prescribed medication and gave me my first ever sick note.

I felt a mixture of relief to have the time off, but sadness to be missing out. I called the office feeling guilty. Now this is where Home’s exceptional employee experience took over…

Concern for the person

The immediate concern on how to cover my workload was not shared with me. Instead, the conversation was one of empathy and understanding. The team clubbed together without me to create an action plan to cover my work. This included a trip to Canada that needed to be covered with two-week’s notice (thanks Kate).

Above and beyond

Home sent me a lovely bouquet of flowers and seeds to plant next year with my little one. I received countless texts of support from my Homies. And even a care package filled with books for myself and my son, pamper treats and a Lego set…. all to keep my mind off feeling ill.

Took away financial fears

I ended up being off for 1.5 months, but I didn’t have to worry about paying my bills, as financially I was taken care of.

Offered flexibility

When I was feeling more human, I wanted to come back but knew I would need a bit of flexibility until I felt completely myself, including reduced hours and working from home until I was ready to come in. The answer was an immediate “yes, please look after yourself, you come first”.

There is no doubt about it, it’s tough being off sick, but it makes all the difference when you feel supported. We’d love to talk to you about the other things we’re doing to give the best employee experience at Home and how we could help you to improve yours.