The cost of workplace anguish

Dec 19 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Any idea how much anguish and mental distress is costing the UK economy? Probably not, but if you did, you'd likely start to feel anguished, too. Because according to the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, we're talking £25 billion per year!

A new report from the Centre claims that 40 per cent of illness-related absence from work in the UK is due to mental health issues. Lest people get the wrong idea, mental illness is not something that other people suffer Ė it's the general state of being mentally un-well. This can result from too much work, too much stress at the office, fear of underperforming, fear of losing one's job, harassment at the workplace, etc.

Obviously £25 billion pounds is a lot of lost revenue, especially when companies should be more alert to notice red flags among their employees. Perhaps better wellness programs or mandatory time off for employees who have worked in excess of a certain number of hours or completed a stressful project could help alleviate some of the problem.

However, it's simply negligent of both employees and employers to let health go bad simply because some sort of mechanism won't let the workplace address the issue. Perhaps better communication skills and better workplace habits and lifestyles will make for less absence and improved all-round health.