It's important to recognise the common causes of stress at work so that you can take steps to reduce stress levels where possible. . Workplace stress can be caused by a number of factors – from heavy workloads and over-promotion to bullying and blame culture.
Some common causes of stress in the workplace include:
- High workloads – excessive amounts of work and unrealistic deadlines making people feel rushed, under pressure and overwhelmed.
- Insufficient workloads – this makes people feel that their skills are being underused. It can make people feel less secure in their job roles.
- Lack of control – having no control over work activities.
- No support - A lack of interpersonal support or poor working relationships leading to someone feeling alone.
- Lack of skills - People being asked to do a job for which they don't have experience or training.
- Adapting to change - Difficulty settling into a new promotion, both in terms of meeting the new role's demands and adapting to possible changes in relationships with colleagues.
- Job security worries - Concerns about job security, lack of career opportunities, or level of pay.
- Bullying or harassment.
- Blame culture – where people are afraid to get things wrong or to admit to making mistakes.
- Weak or ineffective management - this leaves employees feeling they don't have a sense of direction.
- Over-management - this can leave employees feeling undervalued and affect their self-esteem.
- Multiple reporting lines – unclear chains of command, with each manager asking for their work to be prioritised.
- Lack of communication - Failure to keep employees informed about major changes to the business, causing them to feel uncertain about their future.
- Poor physical working environment - eg excessive heat, cold or noise, poor lighting, uncomfortable seating, faulty equipment, etc.
Conflict at work can also be a common area of stress, see managing conflict.