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Workplace stress is costing employers dear

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A new report has called on employers to devote more resources to combating stress and anxiety at work.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has estimated that the cost to UK business of work-related depression comes to £28 billion a year, the equivalent to 25 per cent of total sick leave or 13 million working days.

However, NICE argued that implementing a series of straightforward, inexpensive measures could help reduce workplace stress and its effects on employees.

Offering employees positive feedback on their efforts, granting staff the chance to work flexibly and rewarding workers with extra days off could cut absenteeism and lost productivity by as much as a third, the NICE report claimed.

A progressive work environment could even act as a beneficial force, providing employees with stability, purpose and friendship.

Professor Cary Cooper, a psychologist from Lancaster University who was involved in the report, said: “You cannot underestimate the importance of saying ‘well done’ to staff, but so often it does not happen. Managers will tell you when you are doing something wrong, but not when you are doing it right.”

Professor Cooper also pinpointed presenteeism as perhaps an even more pressing issue than absenteeism: “Presenteeism, where people come to work but add no value, is if anything more of a problem, especially during a recession. People are so scared that they go to work when they are not fit to.”