2 out of 3 Belgian employees are under stress, which increases absenteeism

Two out of three Belgian employees (64%) are stressed.

The resulting stress complaints account for more than a third of sick days and cost the employer at least 3,750 euros per stressed employee annually.

HR service provider Securex surveyed a representative sample of 1318 respondents. Over three years, the number of employees experiencing stress increased by 18%. In more than a quarter (27%) of the employees, stress leads to real tension complaints such as physical and psychological health complaints, resulting in reduced performance. Examples of tension complaints are headache, heart palpitations, insomnia, loss of concentration, depression, getting angry quickly…

Employees with a permanent contract have more stress complaints (28%), compared to their colleagues with a fixed-term contract (19%). Lower educated people (31%) have more stress-related complaints than higher educated people (24%) and certainly executives (17%).

It is also striking that the longer someone works for the same organization, the more he suffers from stress. 18% of employees who have worked for the same organization for less than one year have stress complaints, while this is already 25% with 1 to 10 years of seniority and no less than 31% with more than 11 years of seniority.

The Flemish provinces and the Brussels-Capital Region have an average of 24% of employees with stress complaints. In the Walloon provinces, the average is more than half higher (37%). In Hainaut even 41% report stress complaints.

Candle out

Tension complaints due to excessive stress explain 37% of the days of absence due to illness. They mainly lead to long-term absence. Employees with few stress complaints report an average of 6 days of absence per year, while their more stressed colleagues stay at home for 20 days. Stress complaints therefore keep employees at home more than three times longer.

In addition, almost a third (31%) of employees with too much stress want to leave their organization in the short or long term. This is a lot more than the 20% for less tense employees. A policy on stress is therefore crucial in the context of retention management.

Stress also plays an important role at a social level. Employees who experience fewer stress complaints are more inclined to work longer. On average, they want to continue working until the age of 61, while employees with stress complaints only want to continue working until an average of 58 years. This difference of 3 years is significant. In times of increasing ageing, tackling stress factors can therefore help to keep employees working longer.

At the end of last year, Minister of Work Monica De Coninck launched an awareness campaign to tackle the negative consequences of stress: www.voeljegoedophetwerk.be

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