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Jul 142009
Mental Health: Stress and Work

Image by xeeliz via Flickr

Life in the modern Ireland has become increasingly stressful. Stress, for example, recently overtook back pain as the single biggest cause of absenteeism in the Irish workplace.
For employers that’s a big thing. The Irish Small Firms Association (SFA) recently estimated that staff absenteeism alone could be costing small businesses in this country more than €800 million every year – pointing out that it was a conservative estimate and that the actual figure could top €1 billion. Stress also decreases the productivity of employees who make it in to work – so employers are hit by a double whammy.
For the individual employee increasing levels of stress in the workplace is also bad news. Although some stress at work is inevitable – even desirable, because the resulting adrenalin helps to keep us focussed, motivated and performing at our peak – too much stress has the opposite effect, and productivity tends to plummet. Another worrying aspect of stress is that it can, if left unmanaged, have far reaching implications not just for your performance at work, but also for your long term mental health.

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Jul 102009
My Work Space

Image by ForestForTrees via Flickr

Employee Assistance Programmes, or EAP‘s, are becoming increasingly popular in the Irish workplace, and are helping organisations to comply with new health and safety legislation, improve productivity and retain their key staff. But what exactly are they, where did they originate and how do they benefit the average employee?

In a nutshell a modern EAP is an independent, confidential counselling and referral programme offered to employees by their employer. In very basic terms the service provides an independent channel of support to helps employees identify and address professional and personal issues before they start to impact on their performance at work.

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