Survey Finds Staff Stress Not Being Tackled Costing UK Billions per Year

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22nd June 2012 11:34 - Health

Market research by Bupa has shown that small business owners in the UK are losing thousands of pounds every year by failing to address mental health issues with employees.

A quarter (26%) of SME employers who took part in the survey do not feel confident they would be able to recognise and address ill health, stress or depression among their staff.

In addition, 55% of these respondents stated they regularly chat about the weather with an employee, but only 27% (one in four) would discuss their health – this gives rise to the concern that employers are not equipped to tackle more difficult personal conversations.

Further study has showed that this gap is likely to cost small business owners thousands of pounds every year in absence and lost productivity, with an estimated £26 billion per year cost to the UK economy caused by mental health problems such as stress.

In an SME environment, staff absence can also increase stress levels for those employees having to carry the additional workload.

Meanwhile, the most commonly cited reason for employers not addressing staff health anxieties is that they feel that this is an invasion of privacy.

Clinical Director of Occupational Health at Bupa, Dr Jenny Leeser, commented: “If health issues such as stress are not addressed, employees suffering in silence can lead to small issues becoming bigger problems in the long term and ultimately affecting productivity. Nobody expects bosses to solve all of a person’s issues but there may be adjustments that really help, such as altering hours on a temporary basis.” 

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