Stress and low morale are the hidden costs of the UK's £13 billion absenteeism bill, according to managers

Journal of European Industrial Training

ISSN: 0309-0590

Article publication date: 1 July 2000

Keywords

Citation

(2000), "Stress and low morale are the hidden costs of the UK's £13 billion absenteeism bill, according to managers", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 24 No. 5. https://doi.org/10.1108/jeit.2000.00324eab.014

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited


Stress and low morale are the hidden costs of the UK's £13 billion absenteeism bill, according to managers

Stress and low morale are the hidden costs of the UK's £13 billion absenteeism bill, according to managers

Keywords: Stress, Absenteeism

Research by the Industrial Society reveals managers blame stress and low motivation for a high number of cases of absence from the workplace, despite what their workers are telling them.

The Industrial Society report, Maximising Attendance (part of the Managing Best Practice series), highlights startling discrepancies between what employees say is the reason for their absence and what managers think is the true cause.

The main causes, according to absent employees, were:

  • colds/flu (92 per cent);

  • stomach upsets (76 per cent); and

  • headaches/migraines (57 per cent).

In the opinion of managers, the main causes were:

  • colds/flu (57 per cent);

  • stress/emotional problems (52 per cent); and

  • Monday morning blues (37 per cent).

In order to counter the major problem of absence, the Industrial Society suggests key steps which organisations can take:

  • organisations must have a policy on absence and monitor levels so as to diagnose the causes in order to define appropriate solutions;

  • managers should be specifically trained in managing attendance;

  • employees could also be trained to recognise and manage signs of stress, and should be regularly consulted and communicated with;

  • motivation (a serious cause of absence) can be improved by providing employees with sufficient training and development opportunities, and making sure they are aware of their contribution to the business as a whole; and

  • return-to-work interviews and informal procedures should be used to keep individuals well informed and to mutually resolve problems.

Copies of Maximising Attendance, which is number 67 in the Industrial Society's Managing Best Practice series, are available price £60.00 plus postage and packing. Further details are available from: The Industrial Society. Tel: 0870 400 100; Fax: 0870 400 1099; e-mail: customercentre@indsoc.co.uk Web site: www.indsoc.co.uk