Susie Little comments on the terrible cost of workplace stress

A new report  due out next month from The National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) makes grim reading.   Stress brought on by bad bosses leads to many long-term sickness absentees saying they will never go back to work because of their managers.  In Britain each year, a staggering 27 million working days are lost to sickness absence, fuelled, according to government health advisers, by poor managers.  The cost to the economy is a jaw-dropping £13.4 billion. Doctors are writing repeat sick notes to tackle, not a medical problem, but one created by the cultural climate of businesses today.

NICE is about to publish guidelines advising bosses on how to treat employees in order to keep the workforce happy and healthy. They are expected to recommend better training for managers to help them spot problems such as depression and stress and greater employee engagement at all levels.

Let’s hope businesses wake up to the fact that productivity is about so much more than the bottom line.  A little investment in employee health and wellbeing goes a long way.  Exercising emotional intelligence and empathy doesn’t mean you’ve gone soft – in fact you just got a whole lot smarter.