Given the state of the economy, it is not surprising that we are seeing survey after survey suggesting that stress is now the leading cause of sickness absence at work, while at the same time presenteeism (that is people turning up to work even when they are ill because of fears of their job security) is on the rise. The latter is worrying because, although people are physically present at the workplace, the evidence is that these people contribute little added value to their product or service. Indeed, presenteeism now costs double that of absenteeism to UK Plc., running at over £15b per annum. None of this is surprising to the millions of people who have jobs in workplaces where staff numbers have dramatically declined, where workloads have doubled, where the working day is much longer and extending into people’s private life, and where job insecurity is now an intrinsic part of one’s working life in the modern business world. Therefore, managing one’s work-life balance and stress is critical to one’s health, and ultimately to one’s productivity and career aspirations. As Woody Allen once humorously put it: “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it by not dying."
July 12, 2013