Yesterday, the CIPD launched its sickness absence report, based on responses from over 600 organisations throughout the UK.  The results show that stress-related sickness is now the leading cause of absence in both manual and non-manual professions. 

What makes this finding more worrying is that in reality the figures are likely to be even higher. This survey reflects the individuals that are willing to go to their GPs and HR professionals and admit that they are stressed. At a time of major redundancies and massive job insecurity, there will be many more out there that are suffering but reluctant to speak out.

This latter group are demonstrating ‘stress related presenteeism’ – going to work in spite of suffering from stress – and the survey shows this is also on the rise. As well as the personal risk this puts people at, presentees tend not to provide added value to the products and services they are involved in, so productivity is likely to suffer as well.

The management of stress and wellbeing should now be a top priority when we have fewer people doing more work, feeling overloaded and working longer hours.  The time has come for a national strategy on creating healthier workplaces and not just on absence management in the traditional sense.  We need to understand exactly why people are getting stressed and take preventative rather than reactionary action.

You can find mroe details here.