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As if the recession wasn’t bad enough all by itself, it’s causing a 40% increase in work-related stress for as much as 25% of the workplace. Researchers also found that the amount of time workers take off as a result of the stress has increased by 25%, rising by one-third during an economic downturn.
And with economic prospects marginal, this could be an indicator of more to come.
“Occupational health provision is even more important in times of recession as specialists can help with the stress caused by mounting workloads, organizational change and job uncertainty. We can help businesses look at how they manage stress levels and improve the working environment for workers,” said Dr. Henry Goodall, President of the Society of Occupational Medicine.
Researchers surveyed tens of thousands of civil servants in Northern Ireland in 2005 before the recession and again in 2009 to compare data. They looked at job demands, management support and control over work to evaluate pressure on the job. They asked about general stress, duration of time off and work-related stress.
“The stark differences in the responses given at these two time points clearly show that national economic crises can have substantial implications for workers’ health and organizational performance. The findings suggest that those businesses which seek to reduce work-related stress during austere economic times are likely to experience lower staff absence and greater productivity,” according to lead author Jonathan Houdmont.
Communication appears to be key in helping to reduce stress. “When recession hits, management needs to be pro-active in letting staff know what is happening so that they remove any uncertainty. When people are worried about their job security they can sometimes over interpret signals and hold irrational beliefs,” concluded Dr. Goodall.
Source: MedicalNewsToday, Occupational Medicine
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