Bosses ‘should tackle stress problem’

Businesses need to take more time to support workers who are feeling stressed due to the recession.

Aviva Risk Management claims that the UK lost 13.5 million working days in 2007/08 because of depression, anxiety and work-related stress and says firms should look at increasing resources and reducing workloads to tackle this.

James Draper, principal consultant for the group, adds that UK employees are working increasingly long hours and points out that this can lead to a range of mental health problems.

However, he also explains that 59 per cent of bosses do not believe that working longer hours leads to increased productivity, while 46 per cent do not reward their employees for doing this.

Alex Marshall, business development manager with Aviva’s UK occupational health department, urges companies to do more to protect their workers from the effects of a long-hours culture.

He comments: ‘There should be a strong focus on stress management, which should be treated like any other workplace hazard. A risk assessment should be carried out, both at organisational level and within each team, ensuring ongoing assessment.’

Earlier this month, Business Link advisor Alexandra Shoobert pointed out that employers have a legal responsibility to protect their staff against falling ill because of work-related stress.

See also: Ten tips for managing stress in the workplace

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