United Kingdom: Employee mental health is becoming increasingly expensive for companies

Posted on December 13, 2021 at 12:44Updated Dec 13. 2021 at 14:22

Alarming numbers as the UK tightens the screw against Covid. Among UK workers who took sick leave this year, psychological distress has gone beyond Covid for the reasons given. And it cost employers £43 billion, or more than €50 billion.

That’s according to data from GoodShape, a British human resources specialist that relies on a database of 750,000 employees across the Channel. The company estimates that the cost of sick leave for employers has increased by 31% compared to the pre-pandemic period. And this without taking into account the costs generated by the recruitment and training of the people recruited to replace these employees on leave.

319 million lost working days in 2021

Until 28 November 2021, mental health was responsible for 19% of all lost work time in the UK – slightly more than lost work time related to Covid. It covers all business sectors, GoodShape says, except transportation and logistics, distribution and consumer goods, and business services.

GoodShape has combined its data with official population and wage statistics to present these national figures, and estimates that the total number of workdays lost due to absence (all reasons excluding leave) has risen to 319 million in 2021, compared to 250 million in 2019 In this wake, the number of days lost due to mental health-related absences has also increased, totaling 5% compared to the pre-Covid period.

Back to telecommuting

Statistics released when the British Prime Minister intervened on Sunday to sound the alarm over the spread of the Omicron variant, which authorities say will become dominant “mid-December”. New measures have been decided, including the return to telecommuting. GoodShape data also shows that more than half of employees who suffered two or more absences due to stress later quit.

A study on telecommuting and mental health, published in July by the NatCen Institute, the largest social research center in the UK, highlighted the fact that telecommuters living alone reported a significant increase in their illness – at the beginning of the pandemic. “The pandemic has led to more expectations being projected on people and a company’s economic performance across all industries,” said Alun Baker, CEO of GoodShape. “The good news, however, is that the business world is increasingly aware that the economic health of a company is inextricably linked to the well-being of companies,” he said.


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