Nearly two-fifths of UK businesses (37%) have seen an increase in stress-related absence over the last year, with heavy workloads and poor management style to blame, according to a recent report. Respondents said that having heavy workloads (62%), which can be attributed to poor management, is the top cause of stress-related absence. The second biggest contributing factor is management style which has risen from 32% to 43% in the last year.
More than four-fifths (83%) of respondents have observed ‘presenteeism’ (going to work when ill) in their organisation and a quarter (25%) say the problem has got worse since the previous year. Nearly two-thirds (63%) have observed ‘leaveism’ (such as using holiday leave to work) in their organisation. More than half (55%) say their organisation hasn’t taken any steps to address the issue. These results undermine the fact that the survey records the lowest number of average sick days (5.9 per employee per year) in the 19-year history of the report.
The report reveals that many managers aren’t receiving the training they need to spot and help manage these unhealthy practices among their staff:
- Only 50% of managers have undergone training to support their staff to better manage stress
- Out of the minority of organisations taking action to tackle leaveism and presenteeism, only 37% of managers have been trained to spot the warning signs of either.
Fewer than a third (32%) of respondents said senior leaders encourage a focus on mental well-being through their actions and behaviours.
Minor illness remained by far the most common cause of short-term absence. Fewer organisations included non-genuine ill health among their top causes of short-term absence. Mental ill health, stress, musculoskeletal injuries and acute medical conditions remain the top causes of long-term absence
Read the report here.