What causes stress at the workplace, you wonder?
In this article, we explain some of the causes of stress in the workplace and how to get rid of it.
To be able to get rid of workplace stressors, it is important one knows which warning signs to look out for. Besides employees taking action to stop feeling stressed at work, managers also play a vital role here. That is why, in this article, we list both ways employees and managers can stop work-related pressure from becoming the source of job stress.
What Is Stress At Workplace?
According to WHO, stress at the workplace nowadays is not easy to avoid due to the pressures that the contemporary work environment brings along. When that pressure becomes something an employee struggles to manage, it leads to stress. In the end, we can tell that stress at work is the response of the employee to those pressures present in the workplace.
Those pressures are connected to the demands at work that are not matched to the skills of the employee. At the same time, the employee is also challenged by their own ability to cope with such stress. What usually makes the stress worse is little or no support felt from people the employee is surrounded by in the workplace.
Top 10 Occupational Stressors
While stress is a highly personal phenomenon, we can still talk about the main causes of stress at work in general. Below, we have listed the most common causes of work-related stress. In general, we can say that are two groups of sources of occupational stress: those connected to the contents of work and the context of work.
1. A workload that is too big or fast work pace
In recent years, employees’ workloads have become much bigger, so that they need to work longer and harder to maintain their economic status. Likewise, they are usually pressured by deadlines and short periods in which they need to get work done. The constant need to perform at a fast pace, accompanied by a heavy workload causes a lot of stress.
2. Meaningless or lack of variety of job tasks
Monotonous jobs and repetitive tasks can also cause stress in the workplace. That way, employees are understimulated and the motivation to be productive is lacking.
3. Lack of control or participation at work
It is rather stressful for workers when they have no control of the working pace, hours, and work environment. Moreover, another one of the work environment stressors is when the employee cannot participate in any of the decision-making that concerns him/her/them and their jobs.
4. Job insecurity, lack of promotion at work, pay
One of the major sources of occupational stress is job insecurity. Most employees are worried about losing their jobs which causes them a lot of stress. Career development is a crucial segment of most people’s lives, so employees are worried and stressed about not getting promoted at work, about their low pay, being too skilled or under-skilled for a job, as well as evaluation systems that are not fair or not clear enough to employees.
5. Unclear role in the organization
The worker’s role in the organization can be unclear or they can have conflicting roles that will result in stress.
6. Poor interpersonal relationships at work
Interpersonal relationships at work are usually causing stress to a worker. These include both relationships with other colleagues and supervisors. For example, an employee can have a poor relationship with one of their colleagues, be bullied, or be harassed at work. Likewise, employees’ supervision can also be inadequate or unsupportive which will cause them to feel stressed.
7. Bad work-life balance
A good work-life balance is very important for feeling unstressed, not just at work, but also in personal life. The work-life balance will be poor if there are not enough organizational rules to support this balance. Moreover, a poor work-life balance also occurs when employees don’t have support at work for problems at home, and no support at home for problems at work.
8. Poor organizational culture
Employees that get no or poor communication from management are likely to be stressed. This is because the objectives and strategies of the organization are not adequately communicated to them, so they do not know what to expect. Also, poor leadership plays a role here.
9. Unpleasant workplace conditions and settings
Work settings such as noise, poor temperature control, poor ventilation and/or lighting, lack of privacy, and either unpleasant conditions in the workplace can cause physical stress. Dangerous conditions will affect the well-being of employees in many ways, along with causing physical stress, due to, for example, bad ergonomics.
10. Bad design of working hours
Working hours can become very long, with no room for breaks, and this will usually result in stressed employees. Besides the fact that working long hours causes stress, unpredictable working hours and badly designed shifts can also be stressful.
The Symptoms Of Work-Related Stress & Anxiety
Stress at work leads to many consequences bad for the well-being and health of employees. While some stress is always welcome and individuals can deal with it, being under stress all the time will usually result in some of the following symptoms:
- Loss of sleep, insomnia
- Bad or low mood
- Lower productivity
- Feeling of under-achievement
- Feeling irritable or angry
- Shortness of breath
- Regular absence from work
- Physical health problems
Steps To Take To Avoid Stress At Workplace
Now that you know the causes and consequences of stress in organizations and the impact of work-related stress on one’s health, we should try and make it clear how to avoid becoming severely stressed by taking action.
1. Get enough sleep
Improving the quality of sleep will help employees ensure they get enough rest. It is recommended for adults to get around 8 hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep will help with productivity and overall daytime routines.
2. Manage the time at work
To reduce stress in terms of time, employees can ensure they leave for work on time while planning to have regular breaks during the shift. It is recommended to avoid trying to fit too much work into just one day, but rather have a balanced schedule that will leave time for a private life after the working hours finish.
3. Manage the tasks at work
When it comes to tasks, employees can prioritize important tasks and get them done first thing during their shift. To avoid stress and burnout, bigger projects should be broken up into smaller tasks to focus on.
4. Being proactive with workplace duties
To regain control of one’s job or career, employees can be proactive with their duties in the workplace. First of all, employees should feel free to tell their employers which work conditions cause them stress, so they can try and be dealt with. Likewise, making sure that employees know their job descriptions and tasks can also help. If work and tasks get repetitive, asking to do something else is also a good idea.
5. Support your health
For good health, besides getting enough sleep, it is also required to eat a variety of nutritious food and do regular exercise. To reduce the feeling of stress, workers should try to get at least 30 minutes of activity each day.
6. Break bad habits that contribute to work stress
It is easy to get stressed at work even over things one cannot control. To change that, it is important to focus on the things that workers can control. At the same time, thinking positively about work will also help. Finally, setting unrealistic goals won’t be of help as it will cause more stress, so that is also another habit that needs to be broken.
7. Find comfort
When it comes to physical stressors in the workplace, it is also important to do everything in your power to avoid those. To reduce stress, a comfortable workplace with pleasant and quiet conditions will be helpful.
8. Learn to cope with stress
When stress cannot be avoided or reduced, we can still learn to cope with it for a better quality of life and work. Some of the strategies that can help you to learn how to cope with stress include relaxation, mindfulness, and problem-solving.
What Employers & Managers Can Do About Stress At Work?
1. Communicate with employees
It is the job of any employer or manager to talk to their employees about any causes of stress at work. Besides that, workplace stress can be reduced if employers communicate their expectations, goals, and objectives to their employees. Moreover, talking to workers about their challenges will make them feel supported and understood.
2. Offer employee rewards
It is very important to let your employees know when they have done something good, not just something wrong. If a team has been through a stressful project, maybe they can be rewarded with a less stressful period with fewer deadlines.
3. Give employees opportunities to be involved in decision-making
When employees are involved in decision-making that is related to their job, they will feel more included and less stressed. If they can give their input in how work is done, they might feel more committed to getting the job done the right way.
How To Approach The Prevention Of Job Stress?
- Identify the problem – once you know what the problem that causes stress at work is, it will be easier to go about managing it, preventing it from causing stress, and avoiding it so it does not happen in the future.
- Design interventions & implement them – once the causes of stress among employees are known and identified, it will be easier to work towards changes that will eradicate those causes.
- Evaluation of interventions – Once interventions to stop certain things from causing stress at work are implemented, it is important to evaluate them to know whether they are producing the desired effect or they need to be changed.
Now that you know about the causes and management of stress at work, it might be easier to recognize when it is happening to you, your colleague, or a member of your team. The effects of stress at work can be very bad for the well-being of workers. In extreme cases, work-related stress can lead to heart problems if not checked on time. If you or someone at work is struggling with anxiety or other such issues, it is important you also know how to manage employees with mental health issues. For those working from home, here is how to deal with remote working burnout.