The Business Cost of Stress in the Workplace


2 mins

Posted on 28 Jan 2014

Reducing stress-related sickness absence by as little as 10% would save UK businesses up to £1 billion every year.

The annual cost of sickness absence to UK businesses is nearly £29 billion per annum, according to a study conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC). The cost has risen £1 billion over the last two years due to average sickness absence rising to 9.1 days per employee, up 5% since 2011.

Work-related stress or anxiety accounts for about a third of all sickness absence in the UK. Government reports suggest longer-term absences caused by stress and anxiety have gone up since 2005, while short-term absences have gone down. Any reductions in stress-related sickness absence would have a profound impact on the cost burden for businesses, the taxpayer and individuals.

Positive Action on Reducing Stress

Identification of stress in the work place is the first step to ensuring appropriate management of stress. The following actions are recommended:

  • Develop a stress management policy;
  • Complete a stress risk assessment;
  • Continually improve communication and consultation with everyone;
  • Define roles and responsibilities of all staff;
  • Allow staff opportunities to make decisions that affect their work;
  • Discuss workloads at regular intervals with staff; and
  • Train managers and supervisors to identify the early signs of stress.

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