Stress takes its toll on the profit margin
One of the biggest causes of staff absence is stress-related illness. Did you know that stress affects one in five of the working population? Or that an employee going off-sick with work-related stress takes an average of 24 days sickness leave, costing UK employers £1.24 billion a year? (Source: HSE).
Some stress is good for us; it motivates us to persist with tasks that we find challenging, gives us focus and energy and helps us reach our goals. But too much stress can lead to feelings of ‘overwhelm’and contribute to health problems such as high blood pressure, depression, heart disease and a weakened immune system.
Staff absence can have far-reaching consequences: the cost of hiring temporary cover or recruiting and training new employees, the knock-on effect on staff who may be asked to take on extra work etc. All of these can have a serious impact on the bottom line.
What can you do to reduce stress levels?
As a conscientious employer, you want to create the sort of work environment that promotes psychological well-being. Some tips:
- Encourage openness and good communication between all level of your business.
- Ensure staff are properly trained so they feel confident and competent in their roles.
- Give staff autonomy to make decisions without so much freedom that they feel unsupported and abandoned.
- Listen for signs of staff discontent and make changes where appropriate.
- Be supportive if an employee tells you they’re feeling stressed.
- Provide access to a counselling or support service.
Why should I provide access to counselling?
A happy, more productive workforce is good reason on its own to provide access to counselling. But there’s also a legal ‘duty of care’to protect your staff from psychological harm. A judgment by the Court of Appeal in 2002 found that employers who provide access to a confidential advice or counselling service are unlikely to be found in breach of their duty of care to employees. (Source: HSE/Acas).
Running an in-house counselling service is cost-prohibitive for many companies, and waiting lists for NHS counselling can be very long. For workers prepared to pay for private counselling, the Marple Cross Centre in Portsmouth has a range of therapists who can see clients within a week of referral and help them on the road to recovery.
As an employer you might consider contributing towards the cost of therapy or at least pointing them in the direction of counselling support. If you’d like to know more about what we offer at Marple Cross, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Libby Webber, Co-director
The Marple Cross Centre
02392 29 57 57