Guide

How to deal with stress

Common causes of stress at work

It's important to recognise the common causes of stress at work so that you can take steps to reduce stress levels where possible.

Some common causes of stress 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).