The improvement programme for absenteeism guidance, launched in 2019, proved its worth during the Covid-19 crisis. This programme emphasises the importance of good conversations between managers and employees to identify signs of absenteeism at an early stage and to take these signs seriously. The tools provided to managers for this were useful when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the headlines in the spring.
As a result, absenteeism at Unica in 2020 fell to 5.2% in 2020, 0.1% lower than in 2019. Approximately 95% of absenteeism was standard absenteeism, the remainder was the result of government measures. In addition, a limited percentage (approximately 1%) of man-hours was unavailable due to quarantine obligations, even though these employees felt healthy enough to work. This percentage has not been included in the absenteeism figures.
More than two-thirds of Unica’s workforce works in the field. These employees could generally continue with their normal work, partly thanks to their adaptability and the measures taken by our company and clients. Industry association Techniek Nederland, together with colleagues in the construction and technology sector, developed the protocol ‘Carry on working together safely’ (Samen veilig doorwerken). It translates RIVM recommendations into practical guidelines applicable in the construction and technology sector. This protocol was also used by Unica employees in the field as a guideline, ensuring safe continuation of their work activities.
Hundreds of Unica employees were compelled to work from home in 2020 due to the Covid-19 measures. For many, this obviously impacted their work-life balance. The emphasis of the sustainable employability programme ‘Jouw DAG’ (Your DAY) therefore shifted to the possible consequences of working from home for employees. With the programme, Unica supports its employees in taking responsibility for their own health and sustainable employability. This includes providing resources to warn others to maintain social distancing, paying attention to the risks of back injuries due to poor posture or the set-up in a home workplace, and offering an energy check to help employees maintain their energy balance from home. The preventive medical examination, which was launched in part of the Unica organisation in 2019, was postponed for several months in the spring of 2020 due to the Covid-19 restrictions and converted into a digital form in the summer. Finally, a digicoach was made available for employees who found it difficult to deal with all the Covid-19 limitations. Employees could talk 1-on-1 to this coach about their work-life balance, working from home, work pressure and/or concerns about themselves or those around them.
Managerial supervision designed to give targeted personal attention to employees will remain a priority in Unica’s business operations in the coming years. This approach will help to further reduce absenteeism and focusing on personal development, strengthens employee engagement.
The continuous attention to safety awareness, a key concern at Unica, is closely linked to the theme of health. This is clearly necessary, reflected by the increase in the number of accidents registered at Unica in 2020. There are two sides to this; on the one hand, Unica obviously strives to prevent accidents, but on the other hand, the organisation also fosters a safety culture in which every incident or risk is reported, ensuring that targeted improvement measures can be implemented. The growth of Unica in absolute terms also means a risk of more accidents and incidents. Nonetheless, the increase in accident indicators substantiates further improving safety awareness at Unica in 2021. The safety policy will be assessed and certified according to the Safety Performance Ladder, a targeted programme that will be implemented for this purpose in the coming year.