The majority of British businesses are not sufficiently placed to deal with issues relating to employee stress and other related work pressures, a new survey has revealed.
Research by healthcare company HSA claims that more than half of companies have next to no measures of provisions in place to help their workers deal with particularly stressful assignments or overcome serious stress issues.
This is despite stress-related problems costing the UK economy as much as £3.8 billion annually through lost days of work and dips in business performance.
Two-thirds of respondents told HSA they had been stressed out because of work at some points during the last 12 months, but 69 per cent of businesses maintain that stress issues are not a priority and remain off the agenda, preferring to deal with individual cases on a purely reactive basis.
This is despite vast majority of organisations (96 per cent), admitting that stress can affect their employees' health and therefore workplace efficiency.
Suzanne Clarkson, head of corporate marketing at the healthcare firm, said: "Stress is not exactly a new phenomenon. But when you consider that over half a million people experience work-related stress at a level they believe has actually made them ill it would certainly make sense to acknowledge its potential effects."
The marketing chief warned companies that if they do not take their employee's mental wellbeing into account then they could face a trip to the courts, although she emphasised that overall worker health should always be a priority.
"With this in mind, it might be advisable for companies to start weighing up the cost implications of failing to take a more proactive approach - in terms of not only potential stress-related litigation claims but, arguably more importantly, in terms of the general health and happiness of employees," Ms Clarkson said.