News: Stress is now the most common cause of long-term sick leave in the UK

5 October 2011: This article in today’s Guardian newspaper  reports on the effects that increasing job insecurity and pressure at work are having on the stress levels of employees, with the result that stress is now the commonest cause of long term sick leave.   This is the conclusion of a recent study carried out by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development).   The public sector appears to be the worst affected by this phenomenon, no doubt due to the effect of government cuts causing uncertainty about jobs.   Good news is that 75% of the employers surveyed stated that they offered counselling services to their employees.  There is a lot that managers can do to reassure and motivate their teams in such times and employers should be supporting such initiatives.  Open communication about changes is one way that organisations can prevent their staff from feeling uncertain and insecure.  The report also mentions the phenomenon of “presenteeism” which can be just as much of a problem as absenteeism – that is when employees struggle in to work despite feeling ill or suffering major stress, because they are afraid of losing their jobs if they don’t.



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