Acas report on costs of workplace conflict

On 11 May 2021, Acas published a report addressing the impact of workplace conflict on individuals and employers, helping to estimate the overall cost of workplace conflict to UK organisations.

Workplace conflict – the key takeaways

The report, which draws on data from a variety of credible sources, found that an estimated 485,800 employees resign each year due to conflict at work. The cost of recruiting replacement employees amounts to £2.6 billion each year, with the cost of lost output as new employees get up to speed amounting to £12.2 billion.

Also highlighted was workplace presenteeism, where individuals suffering from stress, anxiety and depression continue to work, has a negative impact on productivity and an annual cost estimated to be between £590 million and £2.3 billion. Sickness absence resulting from workplace conflict is estimated to cost UK employers £2.2 billion each year.

Furthermore, the report also estimated that the overall total annual cost of conflict to UK employers is £28.5 billion. This represents an average of just over £1,000 for every employee in the UK each year. The total cost of management time spent dealing with potential and actual litigation is estimated at £282 million each year, with a further £264 million spent on legal fees.

The Covid effect

The report notes that there are anecdotal reports and research to suggest that conflict was suppressed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the gradual return of employees to the workplace, coupled with insecurity, rapid change and continuing economic pressure, means that it is likely that conflict between individuals in the workplace will resurface.

To avoid unnecessary costs, we recommend that all employers and employees approach any conflict in line with their internal grievance procedure. This could save a lot of time and hassle.

Let Moore Barlow help you

If you need assistance creating or updating your grievance/disciplinary policy, contact one of our expert employment lawyers.