STRESS IN THE WORKPLACE THREATENS TO BOOST ABSENCE LEVELS
It seems impossible to escape the knowledge that Christmas is on its way and for many of us, the festive season heralds not only turkey and the trimmings but also a great deal of stress and pressure! And if recent research by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development is to be believed, employers expect stress levels among employees to continue to rise.
According to the latest annual Absence Management Survey conducted by the CIPD, over one third of employers reported that stress-related absence has increased over the past year, rising to 51% of organisations with more than 5,000 members of staff. And for non-manual workers, stress was the condition most likely to be cited as a top five cause of long-term absence.
In response to predicted redundancies and rising stress levels many employers are prioritising their investment in counselling services. The CIPD survey shows, for example, that access to counselling is now the most commonly provided employee benefit (provided by 62% of respondents) followed by employee assistance programmes (51%).
“For many employees, stress is a regular part of their working lives and something that can be managed and be a positive influence on their performance and productivity. However, for a growing number of individuals, stress goes beyond being acceptable and instead becomes an over bearing and destructive emotion that impacts on them, their work and, ultimately, their team and their organisation,” comments Eugene Farrell, chairman of the UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association.
“Numerous studies have confirmed that the cost of neglecting workplace stress is extremely high and its impact on absence levels is particularly significant. As such it’s positive news that such a significant number of organisations have chosen to invest in employee assistance services to support their people with this issue. Given that the problem of stress and associated absence will never be completely eliminated from the workplace, it’s vital that employers continue this investment and provide solutions to manage it and minimise its impact,” he says.
For more information on the 2010 CIPD Absence Management Survey go to http://www.cipd.co.uk/research/_how-fit-is-your-organisation.