ENTREPRENEURSHIP / SEP. 24, 2013
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Workplace-Induced Stress Costs UK Companies Over £1 billion

According to smallbusiness.co.uk, one in five employees have admitted to taking time off work due to stress related symptoms. This is a staggering figure and one that businesses, particularly SME’s, are finding hard to fund.

But if the current climate is creating such a hostile and unforgiving work environment, why are companies and local authorities not doing more to help combat the issue? We know that many ‘traditional’ organisations take a dim view of people claiming to suffer from workplace stress; in some cases, sufferers are told to “man-up” or worse, are judged on not being good enough to cope with the job and its pressures. And with the competition for jobs being so fierce, it is no wonder that companies are rejecting the idea of funding programmes to help employees deal with stress and instead opting to hire new recruit.

Unsurprisingly, the number of employees suffering from workplace-induced stress is on the rise. Data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (Hscic) found that workers in the UK are not coping with the amount of emotional and mental pressure they are under at work. Hospital admission rates back this up, showing that the rate of individuals suffering from stress related symptoms has risen from 6,370 to 6,780 between 2011 - 2012.

The Health and Safety Executive reported more than 500,000 people were experiencing work-related stress to the point that they were becoming ill and suffering severe stress-symptoms. According to the TUC, the number of people experiencing work-related stress has double over the past 10 years, and a staggering 265,000 new cases have been brought to light since 2012.

The numbers speak for themselves. Workers are under far too much pressure to get results, and the more stressed they become, the more their health and ability to be productive at work is affected. It is a vicious cycle from both the workers’ and employers’ point of view. Workers are suffering mentally and physically, while companies are suffering financially.

According to reports (stress.org.uk), over 105 million days are lost to stress each year! This equates to an enormous £1.24 billion in costs for UK employers. Maybe it is the cost of sick days and the complications of having a ‘stressed out’ workforce that makes some employers less susceptible to funding anti-stress programmes or carrying out evaluations on a regular basis.

As the biggest cause of sickness in the UK, work-related stress needs to be addressed by employers, small and large, across Britain.

Do you know of any companies offering support for stressed employees?

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