Work-related stress. How big is the problem?

by Maggie Cork on September 7, 2010

The Health and Safety Executive in 2007 concluded that work-related stress is a major cause of occupational ill health, poor productivity and human error, and that it can result in sickness absence, high staff turnover and poor performance.

Around 1 in 7 people say that they find their work either very or extremely stressful, with depression and anxiety being the most common stress-related complaints seen by GPs and affecting 20% of the working population of the UK.

When stress leads on to sickness absence, the average length of sick leave is 30.1 days which is much higher than the average length of sick leave for work-related illness in general (21.2 days). Indeed a total of 11.4 million working days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety in 2008/09.

There is substantial evidence to show that by taking action to manage the causes of stress in your organisation, you can prevent or reduce the impact of these problems on your workforce and bring about business benefits as a result.

There is also now compelling evidence that prolonged periods of stress, including work-related stress, will have an adverse effect on health. Research demonstrates the strong links between stress and physical effects such as heart disease, back pain, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances and many minor illnesses, alongside significant psychological effects such as anxiety and depression, loss of concentration and consequent poor decision making.

Stress can also lead to other behaviours that can have an adverse effect on psychological and physical health and well being and thereby upon performance at work. These include social withdrawal and isolation, aggressive behaviour, alcohol and/or drug abuse, and eating disorders.

Results from the Labour Force Survey suggest that in 2008/09 1.2 million people who worked during the previous year were suffering from an illness which they believed was caused or made worse by their current or past work. Of this number, 415 000 people were suffering from some form of stress or depression.

Can Maggie Cork & Associates help me to build a psychologically resilient workforce?

We can work proactively with you to assist you in developing organisational strategies to assess, diagnose, address, and prevent work-related stress from developing.

In addition, we can work with individuals who are experiencing stress and, through evidence-based therapeutic processes, can expedite their return to work.

We also offer a service to established Employee Assistance Programmes; providing expert assessment and brief solution focussed therapeutic interventions; optimising the chances of a supported return to work.

We provide full psychological assessment to augment your occupational health service and work in partnership with your organisations occupational health physician, thereby enhancing the services that you can provide.

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