ACAS Report on the Costs of Workplace Conflict


13 May 2021

By Josh Fresle

A new report published by ACAS estimates that the cost of workplace conflict to UK organisations is around £28.5 billion a year.

ACAS (The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) are an independent public body that offer free and impartial advice in respect of employment issues. ACAS have now published their report titled Estimating the Costs of Workplace Conflict which analyses incidence of workplace conflicts across the UK and the impact these conflicts have on employers and their employees.

The report assesses the total cost to businesses of handling and resolving conflicts both informally and formally, as well as the costs of resignations, training new employees and sickness absences resulting from workplace conflict.

According to the report, the total cost of workplace conflict is on average just over £1000 per UK employee every year. Almost 10 million employees have experienced some form of workplace conflict and this has resulted in stress, anxiety or depression for over 50% of those people.

The report estimates that workplace conflict also results in 485,000 employee resignations every year, costing employers a staggering £14.9 billion.

This report helps to highlight the importance of maintaining good relationships between employers and employees. It suggests a clear link between the wellbeing of employees and the effectiveness and efficiency of an organisation. With over 5 million employees experiencing anxiety, depression and stress as a result of conflict it is evident that staff will be less motivated and employers will therefore become less productive.

Estimating the costs of Workplace Conflict identifies that handling problems as early as possible and dealing with them effectively is the best way to maintain employee wellbeing and avoid resignations and sickness absences. It places emphasis not only on conflict management, but also the necessity to repair employment relationships and focus on helping employees to improve poor performance rather than employers being too eager to fire them.

This report is based on data from before the Covid-19 pandemic and purports that these figures are likely to increase as the country returns to a more normal state. It is believed that many issues may have been suppressed due to the pandemic and will begin to come to light.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.