Many people will be back at work this week after a long, relaxing, four-day, Bank Holiday weekend. They will have unwound with their families, played a round or two of golf or gone on a shopping spree and come back to work fully refreshed.
For others, the four-day weekend will have simply meant cramming five days' work into three days. Some will even have worked during their break just to meet deadlines. And the Bank Holiday next weekend, coming so soon on the heels of Easter, will be looming ominously rather than being welcomed.
For some among this group, it will be no laughing matter. They will often be people with an exemplary career to date. They could well have been the best of the bunch, the team player with some of the most innovative ideas, perhaps the hardest working and the most punctual. But the added pressure could be too much for them.
We are about to enter a phase of increasing stress claims against employers – and the insurance industry had better beware. Risk management group, ALARM warns stress is the biggest emerging threat in the workforce today. We have seen huge claims already in the public sector but more will follow, and in the private sector too.
Insurers and brokers need to gen up on the causes of stress and they need to start talking to their commercial customers immediately. Sensible risk management advice at an early stage can help employers reduce the incidence of and the levels of stress.
A professional industry means offering a package of services, of which traditional insurance is just a part. Proactive risk management advice will become increasingly important. And then issues such as stress become opportunities and not problems.