Credit Crunch blamed for Record Absences
The economic crisis, the credit crunch, is responsible for record levels of staff sickness as more than 380,000 people call in sick each day, according to a report by absence management company FirstCare.
Anxiety about jobs, family finance and the global economy has triggered a nationwide leap in the numbers of people taking time off work, the company claims.
Their figures suggest that the number of people phoning in sick with flu–like complaints has almost doubled in recent weeks, while those suffering with gastrointestinal problems have risen by a third. FirstCare’s managing director Aaron Ross said:
“The credit crunch is beginning to impact on our health and productivity. We would expect to see seasonal trends of approximately 308 out of every 100,000 employees absent for flu–like symptoms, but this has shot up to 585. Noting that the figures represented a “significant loss” of working time for businesses” he added.
“We’ve not seen anything like this before, it is very, very unusual. Such increases will no doubt have an effect on productivity, as well as putting strain on other staff. It’s a nightmare for businesses who may be struggling in the current climate to lose employees,” he said.
Neil Shah, director at the Stress Management Society said it was crucial for employers to support staff during the current economic crisis.
“People can lose the ability to make team–orientated decisions if they’re stressed out,” he said. “Then there are the financial costs. Research from the CBI in 2005 showed stress absence cost £495 a year in direct costs for every worker employed.”
Making sure that staff take a lunch break, offering specialist advice to those worried about money and reassuring workers about their job security could all help alleviate stress at work.
“Try to see the person, not the behaviour, and reassure them they are still very valuable in the company,” he continued. “Staff will also appreciate honestly and reassurance about their position so make sure you keep them up to date about company news”.
“Try to promote healthy ways of coping, too. Many people reach for coffee, sugar, cigarettes or drink to help them cope with stress, but the quickest way to boost health is to get some exercise, even if that’s just from a brisk walk around the block.”
For more information on stress management, read our stress management article.