How many days have you had off work for stress, depression or anxiety in the last year?
In the UK, the office for National Statistics report 137 million working days lost due to sickness or injury in 2016. About 24% are due to colds, 22% due to musculoskeletal issues and 11.5% or 15.8 million days were due to mental health issues including anxiety, stress, depression, and some manic depression and schizophrenia (1)...
The average annual total cost of injury and illness from work between 2014 and 2017 was almost 15 billion pounds including cost to individuals personal life as well as cost to employers and government (2).
Cost of injury and illness - Source: Health and Safety Executive (2)
In 2017, three out of five employees were reported to have experienced mental health issues predominantly depression and general anxiety due to work (3). European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks report revealed that almost 80% of managers in Europe felt stress was the greatest risk at work.
40% of managers felt that psychological risk was the most difficult to address (4).
Psychological risk factors at work
In 1993, a report on stress management outlined some of the psychological risk factors in the work place (5):
- inflexible work hours
- poor communication
- interpersonal relationships,
- job uncertainty and
- high work load
These factors are focused on the external influences that can govern a person’s happiness some of which we can control but what about the internal influences?
The Dalai Lama encourages us to look within our thinking mind rather than external influences such as other people and situations to find happiness (6). Mindfulness has become a popular topic in the last 10 years and is featured in books, stress management clinics and even schools. It is derived from the Buddhist teachings about deep awareness of the present mind (7).
Some organisations are offering mindfulness training for company employees and executives to support stress management. Companies have emerged offering wellbeing and personal development programmes to reduce work related illness, absenteeism and increase performance. Companies like Apple, Barclays and Bank of England are all offering mindfulness at work. According to one insurance company that had 13,000 of its employees attending mindfulness workshops, employees reported reduced stress and gained 62 minutes of productivity per week(8).
Gain of productivity
Looking after employees for greater productivity is not a new concept, however, our evolving society and culture means that strategies to create a harmonious work environment for better business is changing. If you are company employer and you would like to know more about what you can do to help your employees, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a meeting. We are happy to discuss how our programmes can help to support employees with stress management and mental health. Reducing the number of absenteeism days will make significant cost savings.
For employees, consider what your company offers you in terms of health and wellbeing programmes and support. Are these opportunities the same as they were five years ago, or have they evolved into better programmes that inspire you to feel better and work well?
- Office for National Statistics. Total of 137 million working days lost to sickness and injury in 2016 [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2018 Dec 12]. Available from: https://www.ons.gov.uk/news/news/totalof137millionworkingdayslosttosicknessandinjuryin2016
- Health and Safety Executive. Costs to Britain of workplace injuries and new cases of work-related ill health [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2018 Oct 13]. Available from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/cost.htm
- Business in the Community. Mental health at Work Report 2017 [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2018 Oct 14]. Available from: https://wellbeing.bitc.org.uk/system/files/research/bitcmental_health_at_work_report-2017.pdf
- European Risk Observatory. Calculating the costs of work-related stress and psychosocial risks-A literature review European Agency for Safety and Health at Work-EU-OSHA 0 Calculating the cost of work-related stress and psychosocial risks [Internet]. Luxembourg; 2014 [cited 2018 Oct 13]. Available from: http://europa.eu
- Hassard J, Teoh K, Cox T, Dewe P. Calculating the costs of work-related stress and psychosocial risks-A literature review European Agency for Safety and Health at Work-EU-OSHA 0 Calculating the cost of work-related stress and psychosocial risks [Internet]. Luxembourg; 2104 [cited 2018 Oct 14]. Available from: http://europa.eu
- Ricard M. The Dalai Lama: Happiness from within. Int J Wellbeing [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2018 Oct 14];1(2):274–90. Available from: www.internationaljournalofwellbeing.org
- Shapiro SL, Carlson LE, Astin JA, Freedman B. Mechanisms of Mindfulness. J Clin Psychol [Internet]. 2006 [cited 2018 Oct 15];62(3):373–86. Available from: www.interscience.wiley.com
- Aetna. Building a Healthier World [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2018 Oct 27]. Available from: http://www.aetna.com/about-aetna-insurance/document-library/corporate-responsibility.pdf
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