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The PDA has asked all community pharmacy employers to reduce workplace conflict as it helps to ease staff stress, anxiety, depression, and ultimately financial burden which has a knock-on effect on productivity.

Citing a report from Acas, the non-departmental public body of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on the cost of workplace conflict on businesses, the association said, “conflict will be more likely as organisations adapt to a new normal following the coronavirus pandemic, as problems suppressed during the crisis will start to rise to the surface and will need effective responses from organisations.”

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association’s (PDA) latest call to reduce workplace conflict has come at a time when the whole sector is facing tremendous Covid-19 pandemic pressure followed by a heavy financial burden.

The report – ‘Estimating the Costs of Workplace Conflict’ – estimates that workplace costs the UK employers £28.5bn every year, an average of just over £1,000 for every employee.

This estimate is based on the total cost to organisations in handling workplace conflict that includes informal, formal and legal processes as well as the cost of sickness absences and resignations.

The PDA has encouraged all pharmacy employers to “read the Acas report and consider how recognising the PDA at their workplaces, just as Boots, Lloyds and others have done, can help them save the costs of unnecessary workplace conflict.”

The Acas report shows that nearly half a million employees resign each year due to conflict, and handling disagreements and complaints early before employment relationships are damaged can help save businesses money.

Acas chief executive, Susan Clews, said: “A failure by employers to deal with conflict early can be costly to businesses and our study estimates that these costs add up to nearly £30bn a year.

“Poor conflict management can also cause staff stress, anxiety or depression and impact workplace productivity. There’s a clear benefit to everyone in handling problems as early as possible.

“While our main findings relate to just before the pandemic took hold, our report reveals potential for increased conflict as organisations try to adapt to new changes after Covid-19.”

The study estimates that an average of 485,800 employees resign each year as a result of conflict. The cost of recruiting replacement employees amounts to £2.6bn each year whilst the cost to employers of lost output as new employees get up to speed amounts to £12.2bn, an overall estimate of £14.9bn each year.

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