National Stress Awareness day stresses importance of de-stressing

What better time for a day devoted to highlighting stress? And MT is right in the thick of things.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 19 Dec 2011
With eurozone leaders embarking on (what feels like) their 300,000th day of ‘crucial’ negotiations and CEOs cracking under the pressure left, right and centre, it’s never been a more appropriate time for National Stress Awareness day. Accordingly, the press releases have been pouring into MT’s inbox thick and fast. Stand by for our (inaugural) annual Tour of What Industry Thinks of Stress (TWITS).

To risk industry trade body Group Risk Development first, where news just in tells us that stress-related health problems are the most common cause of long-term absence, according to a survey of 500 employers. Apparently, it’s worst among public sector employers, where more than a quarter say stress is their main cause of absence, compared with 13% in the private sector. In fact, almost one in five employers said stress or other mental health issues are the biggest health-related problem, which rises to more than a quarter for businesses with more than 100 staff. It’s enough to give you a headache…

A swift segue past snappily-titled campaign ‘Sensible Policies to Reduce the Effects of Alcohol and Drugs for Employers’ reveals that alcohol in the workplace (and, presumably, the resulting hangovers) costs employers £310 per worker. Although it’s unclear whether it makes them more or less stressed…

Then we’re off to a survey by Avery Office & Consumer Products, which says that stressed-out workers forget an average of five important tasks or facts a day. Apparently, the things which slip our minds the most are returning calls and replying to emails, although ‘leaving paper on the printer’ also features more heavily than one might imagine. Could that be because Avery makes those handy pre-cut printer labels? Surely not. One in 10 workers even say they ‘regularly’ leave the house without any money or keys. Whoops.

Thank god, then, for the legion of organisations working to do something about it. Cambridge-based elconsulting (no prizes for guessing what that does), for example, has helpfully launched ‘a series of short, punchy film clips’ to help stressed-out managers ‘handle difficult conversations’. Handily enough, they can all be ‘streamed to a mobile or PC’. Stress advice on the move!

Elsewhere, one Lloyds Bank CEO Antonia Horta-Osorio could have done with: the Bank Workers Charity (which presumably has close links with the Bond Villains’ Protection League) has apparently partnered with Stress Check Ltd™ to bring ‘stressed bank workers a free online interactive tool’ providing ‘support and advice when it’s most needed through a range of services and grants’. At this juncture, if it may, MT would like to initiate a round of applause. If, at the moment, there’s a group more deserving of the attentions of a charitable foundation, we certainly can’t think of it…

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