Employee Benefits Summit 2009: Rising stress will damage company productivity

Rising employee stress caused by the effects of the recession will damage company productivity.

Speaking at the Employee Benefits Summit 2009 in Monte Carlo, Will Cavendish, director of health and wellbeing at the Department of Health, warned that the impact of the recession including a fear of redundancy is leading to a rise in the number of destructive behaviours among some staff. These can include poor sleeping habits, over-emotional reactions, and a greater reliance on alcohol.

“This will be coming through to [employers] in droves in [their] own companies,” he said.

So it is crucial that employers continue to invest in health and wellbeing programmes. “Focusing on health and wellbeing is as important in a recession as at other times [because] organisations are less able to sustain unnecessary costs such as high sickness absence.”

Cavendish pointed out that employers which invest in staff development save money by increasing motivation and retention.

“I think it is important at board level that there is a pounds and pence calculation of the cost of ill health to the business,” said Cavendish.

He added the Business Healthcheck Tool that has been developed by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Business in the Community will be re-launched later this year, having been improved from its first version.