Work-related stress, depression or anxiety were the reasons given for more than half of working days lost due to ill health last year, according to the latest government figures. This is why it’s important that organisations need to invest in a resilient workforce.
A new report from the Health and Safety Executive reveals work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for “44% of all work-related ill health cases and 54% of all working days lost due to ill health” in 2018/19. People reported the main factors contributing to this were “workload pressures, including tight deadlines and too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support”.
We live in a fast-paced world. We’re always switched on. Everything is needed quicker and we want it delivered smarter. All of this is adding to the pressure and stress that people face at work and that is costing businesses if they do not have a resilient workforce.
Improved resilience has many benefits for businesses and individuals.Emma Langton
The cost of work-related stress
Work-related stress has a huge impact on employees and on businesses. Presenteeism and absenteeism costs British businesses £26 billion per year.
People find it difficult to perform at their best when they are stressed. They turn up for work, they are at their desk, doing their job, but they might not be doing it at their best. They are present but are they performing?
When people are under pressure, they can miss things. They find they are unable to cope with the challenges being thrown at them. Presenteeism is a hidden effect of work-related stress because it isn’t immediately obvious that it is happening. We need to invest in a resilient workforce because without it, the effect is cumulative as projects take longer, mistakes are made, and there is a knock-on effect of that in terms of cost and potentially, reputation.
There is also the cost of absenteeism to individuals. Not only can stress lead to somebody going off sick, possibly for weeks, which obviously has a huge impact on them and their wellbeing, but it also affects their colleagues who may have to take on additional tasks and responsibilities. This in turn leads to more people feeling stressed and anxious.
Businesses need to be focusing on helping their employees to be more resilient so they can thrive in their roles.
How a resilient workforce helps people perform better at work
A resilient workforce helps people to succeed, to live and develop in a positive way regardless of what is thrown at them. It helps people to bounce back and not feel overwhelmed, or worse. It doesn’t mean that people never have a struggle, but they can deal with the challenges they are faced with.
A resilient workforce has many benefits for businesses including:
- Improved productivity and efficiency
- Better performance under pressure
- A reduction in sickness, absence and presenteeism
- Ability to deal with changing priorities
- Greater problem-solving priorities
It pays to invest in a resilient workforce
Companies who have experienced my Ramp Up Resilience workshops say that staff are continually working on improving their resilience, but crucially they know what makes a difference. They notice that workplace absence is reduced, work performance is increased and the organisation becomes a more positive (and profitable) place to work.
One company said
Whilst each workshop is tailored to meet company needs and values, there is a proven process for improving resilience which involves four key areas:
- Awareness – when we enable ourselves to be more aware of the areas that we struggle with and situations that are challenging then we can face up to what’s going on, we can be honest without trying to ignore or avoid.
- Thinking – when we challenge the negative beliefs we can create space to focus on positive things.
- Support – studies have shown that when we reach out for support we lessen the load of that pressure. It can also be a great way to gain perspective from another person’s point of view. Relationships that offer role models, encouragement and reassurance really improve a person’s resilience.
- Health – this isn’t just about physical health. It includes things like time to yourself and getting enough sleep.
More businesses are recognising that a resilient workforce is a crucial factor when contributing to organisational success. When challenge and pressure is almost constant these days, isn’t it time that you started to focus on your employees so that you can reap the benefits of a productive, happy and resilient workforce?
This article was previously published on LinkedIn