Finance

Loss of stressed staff costs employers billions a year

In 2019, burnout complaints and other stress-related absenteeism cost employers around 3.2 billion euros, TNO has calculated. In 2018 it was 100 million euros less and in 2017 it came to 2.8 billion euros.

The agency conducts (bi)annual surveys among several thousand employers and employees. Last year 1.2 million Dutch employees had burnout complaints, slightly less than the year before (1.3 million). According to TNO, the figures show that the situation has not necessarily worsened during the pandemic, but that attention to the subject remains necessary.

Hybrid works

“A fundamentally different approach is needed to turn the tide,” says Dorothé van den Aker, coordinator of the national Week of Work Stress, which is taking place this week. According to her, one should look at how and where the work can be done in order to achieve a better balance.

Hybrid working, which involves working from home part of the time, can be part of the solution to reduce pressure without sacrificing productivity.

Workload

In one third of all absenteeism, work pressure or work stress is now given as the reason for the absenteeism. Last year, 9.4 million sick days were taken due to work stress. Converted this means a cost of 9,300 euros per employee, according to the TNO researchers.

It is striking that fewer people now think that measures are needed against work stress. Last year this was 37 percent of the surveyed group, a year earlier it was still 44 percent. This may be related to the pandemic and more working from home. Employees at TNO indicate that the work-life balance has improved in the past year.

The costs for absenteeism are related to how many people are absent, how long they are absent and the amount of their wages. “We calculate the costs on the basis of continued payment of wages in the event of absenteeism”, TNO researcher Wendela Hooftman said earlier. In 2019, wage costs rose and therefore also absenteeism costs.

Several experts previously predicted that burnout complaints are more likely to occur, partly due to the coronavirus. According to TNO, the fact that the figures are now falling does not say everything. Recent research from March this year, during the lockdown, showed that stress had increased again among a large group of employees, including home workers. This will be further researched done.

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