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Preventing Stress in Organizations: How to Develop Positive Managers by Emma Donaldson-Feilder, Rachel Lewis, Joanna Yarker

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Chapter 2

Why Managing Stress is Important: The Business and Legal Reasons

There is no need to convince some people that managing stress is important – looking after your people makes business sense. However, before putting in place strategies to manage stress at work, it is necessary to convince others that there is a need to manage stress, and importantly that there is need for a budget to help manage stress. This chapter presents the business and legal reasons for managing stress. We have included a number of case studies and simple formulae that can be used to work out the true cost of stress in your organization.

The Business Case

Stress is costly for businesses. Recent estimates suggest that over half a million people are affected by work-related stress at any one time. Stress is thought to account for one-third of all new instances of sickness absence (CBI, ONS), with approximately 13.5 million working days lost to stress, depression and anxiety each year. The UK Health and Safety Executive have estimated that stress costs the UK industry an estimated £9.6 billion every year (HSE, 2006).

European figures suggest that approximately 41 million people in Europe (nearly one in three workers) are affected by stress, costing European member states more than 20 billion Euros every year. (Paoli and Merllie, 2000).

The picture is no better in the United States, with an estimated 297 million working days lost to stress, costing the US economy $150 billion every year (Whatson Wyatt ...

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