From the Wall Street Journal:
Every employer is in the health care business, like it or not. Employee health benefits cost Starbucks more annually than coffee beans; General Motors spends more on them than on steel. But beyond that giant budget item, every company's business practices affect the physical and mental health of its employees. That can put another big, if less visible, hit on the bottom line.
Over the years, businesses have substantially reduced the risk of workplace injuries and accidents. But the harm to employees from stressful working conditions hasn't gotten nearly the same attention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2016 that stress is the leading workplace health problem, ahead of physical inactivity and obesity. It affects both blue- and white-collar jobs, across a wide range of incomes, and is a leading contributor to turnover, absenteeism and productivity losses.
Those indirect costs to companies can be even larger than the direct costs of workers' compensation and health benefits. Take absenteeism: According to U.K. government figures, more than half of the country's working days lost to ill health in 2017-2018 were caused by stress, depression or anxiety. Then there is "presenteeism" – employees who, though at work, are not at their physical or psychological best. In a 2016 survey of some 2,000 employees conducted by a unit of the Virgin Group, participants acknowledged being unproductive an average of 57.5 days a year, or nearly a quarter of their work time.