BELGIUM: Enterprises act energetically to counter increasing burn-out

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A study by the HR service provider Securex shows that nearly half of large enterprises and a quarter of SMEs conduct burn-out prevention policies. Admittedly, support for workers suffering from stress and burn-out comes within the framework of the new legislation on psychosocial risk prevention in the workplace, which came into force on 1 September 2014. And more than 95% of the employers taking part in the survey recognize having a responsibility in the problem of burn-out.

In Belgium, around 64% of workers suffer work-related stress, i.e. an 18.5% increase from 2010. In the worst cases, this stress leads to overstraining, or even burn-out. Workers suffering burn-out, and hence structural stress, are exhausted and generally adopt a negative attitude towards their colleagues and customers, for example.
According to Securex, nearly 1 in every 10 workers say they suffer burn-out (9.2%). Low-skilled employees are the most affected, at 31% compared with 24% for highly skilled employees. This can be explained by the level of independence in their job. The workers surveyed have felt a significant increase in pressure in the workplace in the past three years (+8%). The survey also reveals more constraining home-workplace travel conditions (+8%) and a more significant physical workload (+7%). This last finding can probably be explained by the increase in the average age of workers.

In the past five years, moreover, it is mainly enterprises with more than 500 workers (83%) which have experienced an increase in the number of burn-out cases, compared with 52% for small enterprises. According to around 8 out of 10 employers (77%), this is related to an increase in work pressure, and around one out of two employers explain it by the fact that with modern communication facilities staff can be contacted almost constantly.
Knowing that, on average, a worker suffering burn-out is absent for 96 days, or almost five months, it is important to take preventive measures. Enterprises call for work on a made-to-measure basis, adapted to the worker’s skills and interests.

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