Lack of rehab for stress is costing UK plc

A lack of attention to rehabilitating stressed staff is costing businesses
thousands of pounds every year, according to a report produced for the Health
and Safety Executive (HSE) by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES).

The UK has one of the worst records in Europe for the return of employees to
work after long-term illness, and over the past six years, there has been a
rapid increase in the numbers of people who report they are experiencing

The report, Best Practice in Rehabilitating Employees Following Absence Due
to Work-Related Stress, highlights how a range of methods are now being used by
organisations in the UK to rehabilitate staff.

Efforts to deal with long-term absence were 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," said report co-author, Jo Rick of
the IES. "A GP will write ‘stress’ on a sick note because it is their duty
to decide whether or not a person is fit for work. Yet, stress is used to
describe a very wide range of conditions."

Examples of best practice include how to train managers to recognise the
early signs of problems in employees, risk assessments, coaching for managers
in dealing with an employee once they are off work, the use of cognitive
behavioural therapy and the offer of phased returns to work, reduced hours and
temporary reassignments.

The report is one of two being published by the HSE ahead of new guidance for
managers, which is due this autumn.

The second report, Beacons of excellence in stress prevention, outlines
criteria for best practice in stress prevention.

The reports, which cost £20 each, are available from HSE Books, tel 01787
881165, or through the website.

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