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The business case for managing stress and psychosocial risks

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Psychosocial risks and work-related stress give rise to significant costs for organisations and national economies.

Workers are likely to take a significant amount of time off work when suffering from work-related stress and other psychological problems. When suffering from work-related stress, workers also tend to come to work when they are unable to function properly (known as ‘presenteeism’). This leads to reduced productivity, and consequently to a reduction in business profitability.

In Europe as a whole, the total costs of mental health disorders (both work and non-work related) are estimated to be 240 billion euros per year. Less than half of this sum stems from direct costs such as medical treatment, with 136 billion euros due to lost productivity, including sick leave absenteeism.

The national statistics are persuasive as well:

  • The national costs of occupational stress in France were estimated at between 2 and 3 billion euros in 2007.
  • In the UK it is estimated that around 9.8 million working days were lost during 2009–10 because of work-related stress, and workers were absent for on average 22.6 days.
  • In Austria, psychosocial disorders have been reported to be the main reason why white-collar workers retire early, causing over 42% of all early retirements among this category of workers.

The business case is clear: preventing and managing psychosocial risks is an important task that will lead to a healthy and productive workforce, reduced absenteeism and accident and injury rates, and improved retention of workers.

The result is improved overall business performance.

If you are still not persuaded, then one final point: the benefits to the business outweigh the costs of implementation.

Check out our infographic on Work-related stress risk assessment, solutions & benefits of addressing it

Learn more about work-related stress and managing psychosocial risks at work on the EU-OSHA website.