The recently published 2016 CIPD/Simplyhealth Absence Management Survey reveals some interesting trends in workplace absence management in the UK.

First, the good news: more employers recognise the critical role of line managers in managing both short and long term absence at work. The bad news however, is that they’re not equipping their line managers with the tools and support to do this effectively.

The results of the survey, which asked more than 1,000 HR professionals about their most effective absence management techniques, revealed that training is lacking. Less than half of employers provide appropriate training for their line managers to help them learn how to manage long and short term absence effectively. Both initial support for line managers and ongoing support is essential if they are to feel capable and confident to manage absence in the appropriate way.

In other bad news, stress has once again topped the list of the most common causes of long-term absence and is the second most common cause of short-term absence after “minor illness”. Workload and management style are reported as two of the top three causes of stress at work. Anxiety and depression related to work has also increased on last years’ figures.

On the bright side however, there has also been an encouraging increase since 2015 in employers’ focus on the well-being of their staff, with 37% of the employers reporting that they have increased spend on wellbeing over the last 12 months and 64% improving communication with their staff regarding benefits on offer and how to access them. This is great news and reflects a growing recognition of the business case for promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace.

CIPD’s press report and access to the full report can be downloaded here.