2006-01-04

Health & Money: Sad leads to Sick leads to Bust

Sad staff can soon lead to a sick business, with workers who are unhappy in their jobs more likely to become ill, according to extensive research. A study of 250_000 employees by 'Lancaster University' and 'Manchester Business School' has found that job satisfaction plays a major role in the mental health of an individual. The report has found that people with low job satisfaction are most likely to experience emotional burn-out; have reduced self-esteem; and suffer from anxiety and depression. Even a modest drop in job satisfaction could lead to burn-out of 'considerable clinical importance', the report warned. Depression and anxiety were now the most common reasons for people starting to claim long-term sickness benefits, overtaking illnesses such as back pain, revealed the report. Professor Mr.Cary Cooper, of 'Lancaster University Management School', said:
'Employers should seriously look at tackling the consequences of job dissatisfaction and related health problems with innovative policies. 'This would be a wise investment given the potential substantial economic and psychological costs of unhappy or dissatisfied workers. 'Workers who are satisfied by their jobs are more likely to be healthier as well as happier.'
According to 'The CBI', the average private sector worker takes 6.4 sick days off each year -- and the figure has risen year upon year for the past three years. In Glasgow, the average stands at seven sick days per year. In 2005 workplace absence cost the UK 12_200_million_GBP in total, with the cost of 'sickies' at 1_700_million_GBP. Research by training consultancy 'Changing Perspective' found more than half of Glasgow employers say absenteeism is a major issue for them. And 87 per cent would like to do something to address the problem. It is a situation which is recognised as a major threat to the survival of SMEs. Mr.Ewan Macdonald, of 'Glasgow University's' 'Sickness Absence Management Programme', has admitted controlling sickness can mean the difference between success and failure for small firms.
A comparison of two firms working in the same industry and the same location revealed that the firm with an absence rate 2 per cent higher thanhigher than the other collapsed. The other is still in operation today.
Mr.Cooper said new working practices and technological advances are rapidly changing the way we work, with many jobs becoming more automated and inflexible. He said:
'These trends have contributed to a "workaholic" culture throughout the UK and Europe. 'It is a climate that is impacting negatively in the levels of enjoyment and satisfaction employees gain from their work.'
'Unhappy Workers kill Companies', Evening Times, 2006-01-04

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