24 Oct 2007 - 14:40: PPC Release findings from Milestones research
‘Life’ costing UK employers £15bn a year: miscarriage and infertility top list of hardest life events, resulting in absence, lower productivity and mistakes
Miscarriage is the hardest thing people have to cope with in life, with infertility problems ranking fourth after death and illness. Bringing up teenagers also ranks in the top 10. Such ‘milestone’ events are costing British employers up to £15bn* a year as staff spend up to a day a week trying to cope. Nearly one in five has felt suicidal. These are the main findings of new research among 1,024 people for a report, Milestone or Millstone? by health and well-being consultancy PPC Worldwide.
Milestone or Millstone? reveals that redundancy and divorce – traditionally in the top five most stressful events – have been overtaken by miscarriage and infertility problems. The impact of these events is costing UK business up to £15bn a year in absence and reduced productivity. The top 10 milestone events are revealed as:
• miscarriage (95% have found this hard or really hard to cope with)
• death of someone close (94%)
• serious illness (93%)
• infertility (88%)
• splitting up with a serious partner (86%)
• separation (82%)
• redundancy (75%)
• divorce (74%)
• court case/legal battle (72%)
• bringing up teenagers (63%)
More than one in 10 of our sample, including both men and women, have been affected by miscarriage and a similar number have experienced infertility problems. This may reflect life in the Noughties as people start families later and more women are in the workplace.
The report reveals that 91% of people admit personal events affect them at work. Nearly two thirds (64%) find it hard to concentrate at work during these times, 54% are less productive and 43% take time off work.
Over a third (34%) admit to making mistakes at work, which has implications for those working in the emergency services as well as for health and safety. Nearly one in five people (19%) has been so affected by such events that they have felt suicidal.
Carl Tisone, CEO of PPC Worldwide, comments:
“Business cannot afford to ignore these figures. Our research finds that only 65% of people feel completely on top of life right now, suggesting one in three is struggling and not performing at their best at work.
“Milestones are predictable events that happen to most of us at some point during our lives. Interestingly, nearly half of people feel that if they’d had support during these periods they would have been more positive experiences. It’s time employers took this on board. The result? Happier and more productive staff at work and at home, and improvements to the bottom line.”
* (£23,000 x 0.18) x (26,796,000 x 0.14) = £15,530,961,600, where £23,000 = average annual salary (Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey 2004), 0.18 = percentage of time lost in dealing with life’s problems (Milestone or Millstone?), 26,796,000 = entire labour force (Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey 2004), 0.14 = percentage of people who admit to not feeling fully productive right now (Milestone or Millstone?).