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Mental stress costing the economy $14 billion

Workplace stress is a major issue for the Australian economy, taking a toll across every industry.

But while this claim may be anecdotal, a recent report from SafeWork Australia has identified exactly how stress is affecting Australian businesses and society as a whole.

The report analysed the overall effect that mental stress claims are having on the economy and productivity. The direct cost to employers in stress-related absenteeism and presenteeism was roughly $10 billion.

SafeWork Australia also found that mental stress is the most expensive compensation claim that companies might be exposed to.

Among stress-related claims, pressure from work came in as the most common reason for a claim to be lodged, accounting for over 30 per cent of the total number. Other common factors included bullying, workplace violence and exposure to a traumatic event.

Industry-wise, the most stressful jobs were in professional roles, with these accounting for one quarter of total claims made by Australian employees. Clerical, sales and service workers and associate professionals also ranked highly, with both of these areas accounting for roughly 20 per cent of total stress claims.

Less common, but still noteworthy, were workers in the transport and elementary clerical roles. These two areas were responsible for 7.8 and 7 per cent of claims each.

Of course worker compensation figures only tell half the story of stress in the workplace, with 70 per cent of work-related stress going unreported.

Faced with these challenges, companies need to be sure that they have processes and practices in place to manage workplace stress. This will involve creating a culture where workers are educated about identifying and managing stress and also feel that they are able to talk about their experiences and gain support.

Integrating stress management into your induction and training processes is a logical way to make sure you are equipping staff with the tools they need to handle work stress and improve their productivity.

To find out more about how workplace stress can be managed in your business, make sure you download our latest e-book on the topic.

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