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Blue Monday could cost 93 billion

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Monday 18 January, or ‘Blue Monday’, has been dubbed the most depressing day of the year and could cost the economy £93 billion, according to employment law experts ELAS.

Research by the University of Exeter shows that someone searches the term for ‘depression’ every 2 seconds, making way for a swathe of unauthorised absences or sickness. Unauthorised staff absences tend to increase around this time of year as employees get back into their normal working routine after busy and expensive festive periods.

Businesses have been warned that this could affect workplace productivity. Stress and other mental health conditions are thought to lead to around 70 million lost working days each year in the UK.

ELAS have listed 3 tips for businesses to promote a healthy work life balance and ensure that their workforce is as free and productive as possible:

  • promote good health – identify those with issues and provide support to manage health problems effectively through recognition and management
  • flexible working options – offering flexible working schedules can reduce levels of sickness and absences
  • managing absenteeism – managing absences effectively will help to stem the impact of absenteeism.

Peter Mooney, head of consultancy at ELAS, said:

“It’s important that employers fully understand the effects that stress can have on both the individual and the productivity of a business.

“Blue Monday, and indeed January as a whole, is a period during which many unauthorised absences, or sickies, occur and employers should be aware of the pressures staff may be under and be proactive rather than reactive in their approach to the ‘Monday Blues’.”

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