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Work stress is a “health epidemic”

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Stress has been cited as one of the greatest health epidemics to affect the 21st century and is estimated to cost businesses around the world billions each year.

According to the World Health Organisation, firms in the US pay out more $300 billion (£192 billion) each year alone due to stress-related illnesses, which is why it’s important for employers to be aware of and implement measures to tackle the issue.

Some 69 per cent of people cited in an American Psychological Survey stated that work was a significant stress on their life, while 49 per cent believe it affects their overall performance negatively.

On top of this, increased anxiety leads to difficulty concentrating and lower levels of productivity – meaning it also has an impact on how smoothly corporations run their business.

However, according to Employee Benefits News (EBN), there are solutions that many companies can take into consideration to not only improve business operations, but also ensure the health of their staff members.

An employee assistance programme, for example, is a good way to promote and build awareness of job stress related illnesses. In fact, some 94 per cent of employees reported improved performance after taking part in such a work scheme.

Tailoring help specifically to males and females is an even better way to help reduce the impact of work stress on employee health, EBN believes. On top of this, training managers in how to identify problems is essential.

Female absenteeism, for instance, may be an indication of stress at home and/or in the workplace, but with a training scheme designed to teach managers how to spot these problems, they could be combat ahead of time.

The study also showed that formal disciplinary action is almost double for men so a training programme that helps managers to reach out to males and help them to communicate problems can help target issues before they get out of hand.