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Annie Hayes

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Mental Health Action Week begins

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Mental Health Action Week (27 March to 2 April 2005) will be raising awareness of mental health problems and the impact of stress in the workplace.

Campaigners are drawing a correlation between job satisfaction and a poor state of mental health.

According to the Health and Safety Executive call centre staff on the front-line have the lowest levels of overall job satisfaction of all occupations and the proportion of such staff at risk of mental health problems is much higher. A cost estimated to be around £3 billion in terms of high staff turnover and absenteeism.

The problem it seems is getting worse. The latest Sunday Times list of the 100 best companies to work for shows that stress and exhaustion amongst Britain’s call centre operatives is higher this year than ever before.

Stuart Clarke from Leeds-based Stress Coaching And Life Management says that there is a strong link between poor management and the amount of stress within an organisation. “Companies need to fully understand how their management of employees has a direct impact of the levels of stress those workers face. Too many demands on staff, poor communication and a lack of support all contribute to high stress levels.”

“With the introduction of their new stress standards, the Health and Safety Executive now view those firms who do not tackle stress in the same way they view construction companies who do not provide hard hats for their workers”.

Alison Widdup, Managing Director of àreté business services ltd agrees: “Managers need to take heed of this warning and challenge the way they manage their people. Staff should be trusted, empowered and supported to take the time to do their jobs. It’s not just the right thing to do for your people and your customers, it’s common sense commercially.”

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Annie Hayes

Editor

Read more from Annie Hayes
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