In an article on September 9 2016 in the Britain’s New Statesman Magazine,reporter Laurie Penny wrote…

“Whose fault is it if you can’t cope with the stress of work? The answer used to be simple – it’s yours, and you’re probably a shiftless weakling for even asking the question. But a landmark case in France might soon change public opinion. Following an inquiry into the suicides of more than 30 employees at France Télécom (now Orange) between 2008 and 2009, prosecutors in Paris have recommended that Didier Lombard, a former chief executive of the company, and six other senior managers be put on trial for psychological harassment.”

Penny goes onto say…

“Should employers be responsible for their workers’ mental health? There are health and safety laws, but these were written for an economy where and an age when the most complex hazard you were likely to face was a box-cutter gone haywire. These days, the dangers are far more threatening to our very existence, the wounds of work mental and emotional.”

This Weeks Video…

Work Life Balance

Last year I was contacted by the General Manager of a mining company in Australia who shared with me that their company was suffering badly since the collapse in the resources sector. We talked about the employee’s mental health, and the immense stress that all the workforce was now under.

A couple of days later we had organized a plan for me to travel to their mine site and undertake our Workplace Stress Management Services program. The next day the GM called me to say the Board had now ‘canned’ the project. The reason… their new policy was, “work it, till it breaks”. The “it” was machines and people!

Two days ago I was delivering one of my favorite keynote presentations… ‘Stressed Undressed’ to a group of recently retired executives. At the end of the session a distinguished man approached me and shared with me that prior to his retirement he had a managerial role with one of the countries large Telco’s. A new senior manager was appointed and his new manager would remind him each day that his job was,“to squeeze every bit out of every employee under him, no matter what”. The story teller shared with me that this new abhorrent attitude by management left him with a very sad heart. The story teller shared that he had always cared about the employees he was responsible for.

The cost to business of work related stress is clearly documented and evident. Worker’s compensation stress claims are the most costly to business (Queensland – $4,000 per claim). Work related stress also creates absenteeism (3.2 days p.a. per Australian employee), presenteeism (accounts for another 6 days) and increased staff turnover. The related impacts on organisational effectiveness and profitability nationally are estimated at between $10.1 billion and $14.8 billion.

Every country with a modern industrial and employment law framework places an obligation on employers for the physical and mental health and wellbeing of their workers. Stress and stress related illness is explicitly covered by these industrial instruments and legislation; however, until recently, the regulating bodies have failed to impose these legal and moral obligations that employers have within these existing legal frameworks.

Times are changing though, and this obligation is increasingly being enforced. Common law claims for negligence with workplace stress are emerging, and it is anticipated that stress injuries to employees will in the near future be treated in much the same way that injuries sustained from accidents, falls, jars, slips, jerks, jolts, falls and manual handling or being struck are treated.

There is considerable academic evidence that properly diagnosing the sources of stress in an organisation, followed by undertaking primary interventions to remove or reduce the stressors, provide an organisation with the greatest value for their investment.

You may wish to check out our very comprehensive Workplace Stress Management Services program

If you would like to immerse yourself in two days of creating your own unique Stress Management Toolkit with tools and strategies that build your resilience and teach you how to convert ‘bad stress’ into ‘good stress’, then join us in Brisbane on 22&23 October for the Stress to Strength Experience Workshop. We have a fantastic team of qualified Stress Management Practitioners who will guide and mentor you through the processes. Plus you’ll have lots of fun and go home relaxed and de-stressed.

You can register at

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