National Sickie Day was first devised in 2011 after research showed that the first Monday in February is the most likely day for workers in the UK to call in sick. In 2021, around 600,000 workers called in sick on the day, costing the UK economy close to 45 million pounds1. In the UK, the main driving force behind sick leave is believed to be mental health issues, with it causing an estimated 19% of absences in the year 20212.

Here, local business coach Kevin Riley of ActionCOACH Warwick shares his advice on how to create a culture that keeps employees satisfied and at work in 2022.

“A focus on wellbeing continues to be pivotal to the success of every business,” said Kevin. “There’s strong evidence to suggest that it is the main factor for people being off sick and seeking to change job positions. Business owners need to take matters into their own hands to ensure company processes and culture are being maintained. Getting the balance right can be difficult. However, once it’s in place, the success will be evident.”

Here, Kevin shares some of the elements to think about when applying a wellbeing strategy to keep your staff healthy and in the business.

  1. Discourage presenteeism. Presenteeism is the act of showing up for work without being productive – this is mainly caused by ill health. You don’t want genuinely sick employees coming into work; this can have adverse affects on productivity and health. Make it clear what the valid reasons for being off sick are, and support those who need time off. Continued presenteeism can lead to disengagement and eventual burnout.
  2. Energise your staff. Ask your staff about what jobs actually give them energy. It is true that having a good cross-section of people in the team all sharing the essential activities helps grow your business. However, listening to what your staff love in their role can make a big difference. Practise being enthusiastic about an idea and watch the positive impact it has on your business.
  3. Balance is key. Make sure that employees take proper lunch breaks and do not do unnecessary overtime (managers should set a good example on this). Nurture a healthy culture by encouraging staff to take all their annual leave. Flexible working is also a good way of creating happier and less-stressed staff. Giving your staff the ability to work from home, or allowing for flexible start and end times, can have a transformative effect on your staff’s wellbeing.
  4. Communicate to elevate. You should always consider how you communicate with employees. Help to set some achievable goals on an individual or collective basis in the short term to get an early ‘win’ under their belt. If a staff member does a good job at something, tell them. If they are always performing at a consistently high level, celebrate this.

Supporting your staff can help to make them feel valued and understood, which not only enhances their long-term fulfilment but helps to keep them happy and at work. To find out how ActionCOACH Warwick could help your business, please visit for more details.

1 National Today, National Sickie Day, 2021

2 Bloomberg, Mental Health Data, 2021


By Brian