Computers may (or may not) be set to experience the Y2K bug - but what about the human cost of stress?
A recent CBI Survey Focus on Absence cited that absence from work lost UK business £10.2bn in 1998 - an average of £426 per employee - and that stress for non-manual employees was the second highest cause of absence.
As we hit the millennium, the workplace should be bracing itself for unprecedented levels of stress among employees who will be feeling the pressure at home, at work and play.
It is all very well to dismiss forthcoming festivities as a contagious frivolity, but will the pressure to have a good time result in extreme levels of stress?
Calls to professional telephone helplines are already in full swing. A Samaritans report (October 1999) highlighted that the suicide rate among young men has risen by a staggering 40 per cent.
The social pressure to spend, spend, spend and "party like it's 1999" will push many people to extreme levels of stress-induced behaviour and PMT (Pre Millennium Tension).
The end of a year, and particularly the end of a thousand years, will exacerbate all the feelings we usually experience, but, more so.
We all feel that this time all our expectations, our New Year resolutions and hopes for the future, will be magically realised. This is rarely the case, however. Depression, disappointment, anger and anxiety rapidly become the norm.
Working in occupational health, as we all know, is never a nine-to-five job. Occasions such as the millennium, however, will cause increased pressure, feelings of resentment and exclusions, especially when it is likely that those you are caring for will have no idea or desire to know about others who are having fun.
We all spend our lives doing a balancing act, just trying to keep our heads above water. But the added pressures to "have the best time of our lives" and "to take part" will only build up, creating the sensation of losing control.
Instead of enjoying a brand new century, the sense of guilt and manipulation by outside forces is overwhelming. Guilt, because instead of enjoying the hype and feeling a part of it, we feel despondent and isolated.
Guilt that we cannot forget our problems; guilt that we cannot spend the money that our families are expecting and guilt that the ups and downs of our lives are not in harmony with what the