Leeds Metropolitan University saves £75,000 a year by tackling workplace stress

Leeds Metropolitan University has saved £75,000 a year by implementing a scheme to tackle workplace stress. 

John Hamilton, head of safety, health and wellbeing at the university, put the scheme in place over two years ago in reaction to bullying and harassment issues that had surfaced.

The scheme is based around a self-help website for staff, and attracted 6,000 hits in its first three months.

When it was first created, the website tackled over 75 topics including stress, fitness, and coping with money worries or grief. Now, it covers more than 200 areas of advice, support and guidance.

The university also held a staff development event in 2009 which supported the scheme, with over 60 events including exercise classes, health assessments, stress management techniques, and self-help sessions.

An occupational health referral scheme was also set up for staff, with treatments for a number of health problems.

Results of the scheme include: the university now saves £75,000 a year in wages; stress-related absence is down by 16%; and the accident rate is now at just 64.7 per 100,000 employees, compared to the sector average of 325.

Hamilton said: “The most important thing about the programme is that staff feel that the university cares about them and their wellbeing.

“It is a great atmosphere to work in and, because of that, motivation and productivity have improved and absence levels are down, proving that a happy workforce is a successful one.

“What has been really important has been the buy-in from senior management. They know this initiative is good for our employees. Morally, it is the right thing to do, but it also makes complete business sense.”

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