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:
- Excessively high workloads, with unrealistic deadlines making people feel rushed, under pressure and overwhelmed.
- Insufficient workloads, making people feel that their skills are being underused.
- A lack of control over work activities.
- A lack of interpersonal support or poor working relationships leading to a sense of isolation.
- People being asked to do a job for which they have insufficient experience or training.
- Difficulty settling into a new promotion, both in terms of meeting the new role's requirements and adapting to possible changes in relationships with colleagues.
- Concerns about job security, lack of career opportunities, or level of pay.
- Bullying or harassment.
- A blame culture within your business where people are afraid to get things wrong or to admit to making mistakes.
- Weak or ineffective management which leaves employees feeling they don't have a sense of direction. Or over-management, which can leave employees feeling undervalued and affect their self-esteem.
- Multiple reporting lines for employees, with each manager asking for their work to be prioritised.
- Failure to keep employees informed about significant changes to the business, causing them uncertainty about their future.
- A poor physical working environment, eg excessive heat, cold or noise, inadequate lighting, uncomfortable seating, malfunctioning equipment, etc.
Conflict at work can also be a common area of stress, see managing conflict.
You can also download information about stress at work (PDF, 972K).