Head of the class

Head of the class

When change isn’t good
How employers can head off a tsunami of sick leave
when change erupts at the office

Stressed businesswoman

Note to employers: if you’re undergoing any sort of change at your company, expect to deal with a lot of sick leave requests.

A Morneau Shepell survey of employers and employees across Canada found that nearly half (49 per cent) of survey respondents in Atlantic Canada have taken time off of work and/or noticed other employees taking time off following workplace changes. That result was higher than the national average of 46 per cent.

Greg Caines, a health and benefits expert at Morneau Shepell’s Halifax office, says workplace change can take a number of forms, including office renovations, job re-design, sale of the business and more. Caines says the survey shows how much workplace change can stress employees and cause them to miss work.

What can employers do to alleviate the problem? Caines says providing managers with better training on how to guide employees through change is important. Communication and providing regular updates on any workplace change can also help make employees feel more at ease during a time of transition. “Without that communication, employees are left wondering and drawing their own conclusions,” Caines says. “You’ve got to consistently explain the reasons why the change is happening and the positive things you hope to accomplish.”

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