The Cost of Stress to UK Employers and Employees

Published in print: 23 Sep 2021

Posted on RAND.org on November 09, 2021

by Christian Van Stolk

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Studies show that workplace stress is a significant issue for workplaces and a cost to employers. Workplace stress is not a medical condition and can be difficult to define. This chapter uses an econometric model on the basis of data from Britain's Healthiest Workplace, a large survey of UK employers and their employees, to understand the relationship between workplace stress and productivity loss. We define productivity loss as the sum of absenteeism and presenteeism. The chapter also aims to establish which aspects of workplace stress as measured by the HSE Management standards are the most significant in explaining productivity loss. The chapter finds that the cost of workplace stress is extremely significant and likely to be underestimated due to the relationship between stress and other variables. Specifically, it finds that many aspects of workplace stress are significantly associated with productivity loss, with those being bullied at work showing the largest loss.

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