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The bad news . . . Every organisation in Britain is affected by mental distress and ill health in the workforce. At any one time, one worker in six will be experiencing depression, anxiety or problems relating to stress. Mental ill health is normal in every work place in the land.

The total cost to employers of mental health problems among their staff is estimated at nearly £26 billion each year. That is equivalent to £1,035 for every employee in the UK workforce.

The business costs of mental ill health are as follows:

  • £8.4 billion a year in sickness absence. The average employee takes seven days off sick each year of which 40 per cent are for mental health problems. This adds up to 70 million lost working days a year, including one in seven directly caused by a person’s work or working conditions.
  • £15.1 billion a year in reduced productivity at work. ‘Presenteeism’ (attending work while sick) accounts for 1.5 times as much working time lost as absenteeism and costs more to employers because it is more common among higher-paid staff.
  • £2.4 billion a year in replacing staff who leave their jobs because of mental ill health. Source: Mental Health at Work [PDF] from Centre for Mental Health

The good news... Work place chaplains can make a difference to your business in lowering your absentee rates. This is achieved through building long-term relationships with staff, sharing loads, offering practical and spiritual support and 'being there' for people in the highs and lows of life. There is good evidence for this from various places:

“It is now widely accepted that those organisations which have a ‘spiritually-friendly' culture, show universally lower than average rates of absenteeism, workplace stress and staff turnover”. (Source: Spiritual Care Matters NHS Scotland, 2009)

“One benefit of a work place chaplain is lower turnover rates. In fact, after Taco Bell hired its first chaplains in Central Texas, turnover in their stores dropped by a third. This one benefit alone will pay for the cost of most chaplaincy programs”. (Source: Bee Thomas Workplace Chaplains )

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