A healthy organisation and absences due to sickness

The rate of absences due to sickness at NS was 8.1% in 2023 (2022: 8.5%). NS has managed to reverse the upward trend but has not yet returned to pre-COVID-19 levels. The rate of absences due to sickness is too high. With a shift in management focus towards ‘preventing absences due to sickness’ and ‘empowering people’, NS expects that sickness absence figures will eventually fall. NS looks at employee vitality from four perspectives: physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, social wellbeing and meaningful work. Among proud and healthy NS employees, these four elements are in balance. The working environment also plays an important role in the vitality of our employees. The joint approach by Board and employee representatives under the banner ‘How to stay healthy together at NS’ has generated a lot of attention for vitality, but also shows that more needs to be done and that this is a complex issue. After a year of learning, with many initiatives and pilots at the business unit level, NS is now sharpening its focus on addressing the root causes of absences due to sickness, again by business unit. Themes include workloads, limited development opportunities, inappropriate behaviour and the role of managers.

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