Work related stress soars in recession

The economic downturn has fuelled soaring absentee rates at work as employees struggle to cope with stress

A study has found that work-related stress has increased by 40 per cent as economic prosperity has declined.

The number of people taking time off work has risen by 25 per cent between 2005 and 2009 as workers struggle with fears over job security, a lack of managerial direction and poor communication.

Lead researcher, Dr Jonathan Houdmont, from the University of Nottingham urges businesses to consider employee well-being to boost productivity.

‘Those organisations which seek to reduce work-related stress during austere economic times are likely to experience lower staff absence and greater productivity,’ he says.

The findings, published in journal Occupational Medicine, show the importance of focusing on workers mental health during turbulenteconomic times.

‘Occupational health provision is even more important in times of recession as specialists can help with the stress caused by mounting workloads, organisational change and job uncertainty,’ says Dr Henry Goodall from the Society of Occupational Medicine.

‘When people are worried about their job security they can sometimes over interpret signals and hold irrational beliefs,’ he says. ‘Clear and timely communication is vital.’

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