Why managing stress and mental health is vital for businesses

Mental health and stress issues are the biggest causes of mid and long-term absence from work, new research from Group Risk Development (GRiD) has shown.


A work-life balance is vitally important for many workers and this means business leaders need to be aware of the issues that may be impacting their workforce.


Having absent staff can place pressure on others and reduce productivity; potentially having a negative impact on a company.


Some 48% of businesses said that these issues were the main cause of long-term absence with 41% saying it was the main cause of mid-term absence and 19% for short-term.


Home and family issues – often a contributory factor to stress or other problems – was also listed by a third of people as a root cause for short-term absence.


Mental health issues can be particularly damaging for companies who do not take appropriate action and support should be offered by law for anyone who wants it.


Other research from Friends Life showed that almost a quarter of UK workers have called in sick with stress in the past year – equivalent to seven million employees.


The cost of absence


In terms of cost, this accounts for almost £690m in wasted wages every day and the latest research shows a considerable rise in the number of ill staff.


Of everyone surveyed, 23% said they took time off with stress compared to 16.5% two years ago; although that figure is likely lower than it should be.


It fails to take into account cases of ‘presenteeism’ whereby people still go to work despite not being able to fulfill all that is expected of them.


These people cannot work at the levels the normally set, meaning production decreases as a result; potentially harming bottom line financial figures.


Support from companies can help to solve the issue but for some the financial implications could simply be too much to deal with.


Seeking insolvency advice may help to rectify some situations but fast action would be required to enhance the likelihood of this occurring.


Those ages between 18 and 24 years are most likely to be absent with stress, as nearly a third of this age group took at least one day for such stress in the last year.


Solving stress and mental health issues relies on taking the right approache when going in search of solutions – staff need support and those that get it are far more likely to be productive.


By Phil Smith


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