Employers count the cost of stressed workers

Lack
of attention to rehabilitating stressed employees is costing employers
thousands of pounds every year.

A
new report produced for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) by the Institute
for Employment Studies (IES) claims that more than half a million people said
they were affected by stress at work and 13.4 million working days were lost
last year due to stress and related conditions.

Stressed
employees take an average of 29 days off a year.

The
report, Best Practice in Rehabilitating Employees Following Absence Due to
Work-related Stress, says there has been a rapid increase in the number of
people who report they are experiencing stress in the last six years.

Jo
Rick of the IES and co-author of the report, said solutions to the problem are
undermined by the use of ‘stress’ as a catch-all term.

"The
key to being able to intervene effectively is understanding the specific nature
of the stress problem," she said.

The
research reports that UK employers are taking the challenge of growing levels
of absence from stress-related illnesses.

Initiatives
include:


training for managers to recognise early signs of problems in employees


risk assessments for stress in different jobs; coaching for managers in dealing
with an employee once they are off work with stress


the use of cognitive behavioural therapy


the offer of phased returns to work, reduced hours and temporary reassignments.

The
report highlights good rehabilitation practice among UK organisations, and
spells out how organisations can best deal with employees absent from work due
to stress:


Maintaining contact with the employee on a personal rather than purely a
work-related basis


Attempting to diagnose the specific problems behind the ‘stress’ involved


Providing immediate support from the start of the absence


Encouraging stress awareness among line managers


Being creative and flexible about options for a return to work


Developing an agreed rehabilitation plan with the employee


Creating a written policy or set of guidelines for employee rehabilitation

www.employment-studies.co.uk

By Michael Millar

Comments are closed.