Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Warning on workers' mental health

The UK needs a major rethink of workers' mental health amid the current economic uncertainty, government advisers have said.

More than 450 experts assessed the potential challenges of the next 20 years that could impact on wellbeing.

Competition from abroad, the prospect of a recession and spiralling debts could all take their toll, the report by the Foresight group said.

It said more flexible working was one way of maintaining a work-life balance.

Work-related absenteeism already costs business around £750m each year.

Data collected in the workplace suggests 420,000 employees in Britain in 2006 believed they were experiencing depression, anxiety or stress at work at levels that were making them ill.

One of the report's authors, Professor Cary Cooper, said a pressing issue was the number of workers who did not feel able to take time off when they were sick or stressed.

"Presenteeism" - where the individual is at work but not productive - could cost the UK around £900m a year.

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