Stress - No.1 Cause Of Sick Days

October 21, 2016

Stress now accounts for 45% of work sick days in the UK, a shocking statistic. For large companies, this cost can run into the millions


Some Surprising Statistics


It’s always been known that a large portion of sick days are driven by stress, however a recent survey conducted by the HSE shows that in 2015, stress accounted for a massive 45% of all sick days. Surprised? So are we. Although the level has stayed relatively stable for more than a decade, this still represents a shocking 9.9 million working days lost per year, or 23 days per case.


Here are some more surprising statistics for you to digest:


  • There were 440,000 cases of work related stress in 2015, depression or anxiety, of which 234,000 were new cases during the year

  • By occupation, business, media and professional roles show higher levels of stress on average. Those with a higher level of education and women also show higher stress levels on average

  • 80% of workers admit to feeling stressed in the past year


The Drivers


People commonly attribute the root of their woes to the modern day pressures of heavy workload and tight deadlines. Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, says “When you look at the causes of this stress the top result is workload, followed by non-work factors such as the personal life and family. We often see it is the combination of work and non-work stress factors that causes people to feel they are unable to cope.”


In an environment where employers want to get the best possible value from their people, it is easy to see how work can pile on the strain. Off the back of the financial crisis, companies are focusing more than ever on the quality of their bottom line, looking to maximise profitability through restructuring activities and streamlining the cost base. However this focus on efficiency at the corporate level comes at a cost to employee satisfaction and personal effectiveness. Long hours and increased responsibility bring with them burnout and stress that leads to an inevitable reduction in productivity.


The Challenge To Address


The challenge now for companies is balancing the need for a streamlined business with the pressure it exerts on people to perform. This doesn’t mean expecting less from your people, but it does mean designing and putting in place good solutions for them to better cope with their day to day. Aside from offering training & development and having good HR processes, wellness programmes have been shown to increase employee morale and give them the feeling that their employer cares.


As an employer of choice, what does your wellness programme look like? Are there any gaps which you could address? To see how Urban Guru can help bring yoga and mindfulness to your business, take a look at our Classic & Compact Corporate Yoga programmes and our DoJo Corporate Mindfulness Workshops offering. Scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety, meditation & yoga could be just what your people need.




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