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Health warning for IT

Bill Goodwin

Poor health in the IT department is having a damaging effect on employees’ relationships and productivity, research by the Chartered Management Institute and Workplace Health Connect indicates.

Only 40% of IT managers believe they are in good health, according to the Quality of Working Life Report, which surveyed 1,541 managers.

The report concluded that ill health was having an impact on staff moral and performance, and was disrupting the relationship between IT staff and colleagues.

Of the IT managers questioned, 33% said they were irritable “sometimes or often” towards colleagues. The same number said they wanted to avoid contact with other people, and 17% had difficulty making decisions due to ill health. More than 40% admitted to becoming angry with others too easily, and 35% said they lost their sense of humour due to workplace pressures.

Some 60% of IT managers said illness rates among staff had increased over the past 12 months.

Mary Chapman, chief executive at the Chartered Management Institute, said managers needed to take action to prevent relatively minor symptoms of ill health escalating.

“Inaction on improving personal health is clearly having an effect on colleagues and the knock-on effect is that customer relationships will suffer too,” she said.

The CMI claims that although managers regard employee health as an important issue, in most cases they are driven by concerns such as compliance and avoiding litigation.

“Less that half think in terms of impact on productivity and this is a major concern because workplace health clearly has a link to organisational wealth,” said Jo Causon, director of professional affairs.

“Whilst nearly all organisations have health and safety policies in place, very few actually focus on managing illness,” she said. “There is a distinct lack of action.”


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