Workplace stress has become a common problem across the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines it as “the response people have to pressures and demands exerted on them at work.” It is not just the demanding or high-pressure jobs that cause stress but also the low-stress ones. In this article, we will discuss the top 10 causes of stress at work and ways to beat them.
Understanding Work Stress In Brief
Work stress is the physical and psychological response to the demands of work. It can be caused by factors such as long hours, heavy workloads, unrealistic deadlines, and office politics. Work stress can lead to burnout, which is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion that can make it difficult to cope with everyday life.
Degrees in Work Stress
Work stress can be mild, moderate, or severe.
- Mild work stress is the kind that can be easily managed and doesn’t have a major impact on your health.
- Moderate work stress may cause some health problems and make it difficult to cope with everyday life.
- Severe work stress can lead to burnout and serious health problems such as heart disease, anxiety, and depression.
Types of Work Stress
Based On Source
There are three main types of workplace stress: individual, organizational, and environmental.
- Individual stressors include job satisfaction, workload, working hours, work-life balance, and relationships with co-workers and superiors.
- Organizational stressors include company culture, change, communication, and job security.
- Environmental stressors include noise, temperature, and lighting.
Based On Nature
There are two types of work stress: acute and chronic.
- Acute work stress is the kind that comes on suddenly and is usually short-lived.
- Chronic work stress is the kind that builds up over time and can last for months or even years.
Signs of Work Stress
Several signs can indicate you’re experiencing workplace stress. These include:
- having trouble sleeping;
- feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or irritable;
- feeling disconnected from your work; and
- experiencing physical symptoms like headaches or stomach problems.
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, it’s important to take steps to reduce your stress.
Listing Top Ten Causes For Stress At Work
The following is a list of the top 10 causes of workplace stress:
Lack of Appreciation
Feeling like your hard work is going unnoticed or that you’re not being appreciated for what you do can be very stressful. This can lead to feelings of devaluation, frustration, and even resentment.
Lack of Control
Feeling like you have no control over your work, or that your work is controlling you, can be very stressful. This can be caused by a lack of autonomy, feeling like you’re constantly being micro-managed, or not having a clear understanding of what is expected of you.
Whether it’s not knowing what the end goal is, or not having clarity on what your boss or coworkers expect from you, unclear expectations can be extremely stressful. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, frustration, and even burning out.
Lack of Support
Feeling like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders can be incredibly stressful. This is often due to a lack of support from upper management or colleagues. If you feel like you’re constantly having to do more with less, you’re likely feeling this type of stress.
Pressure To Succeed
Whether it’s an upcoming deadline, a big presentation, or just the general pressure to do well at your job, feeling like you have to constantly perform can be stressful. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and even perfectionism.
Feeling like you’re being treated unfairly at work can be a major source of stress. This could be due to things like being paid less than your colleagues, not getting the same opportunities, or feeling like you’re not valued or appreciated.
Whether it’s with a coworker, boss, or client, conflict can be very stressful. It can cause feelings of frustration, anger, and even fear. As humans, we generally don’t like conflict, so it’s no wonder that it’s one of the top causes of stress at work.
Whether it’s a change in management, a new company policy, or just the general feeling that things are constantly changing and you can’t keep up, change can be stressful. This can lead to feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and even depression.
When the stress of your job starts to outweigh the satisfaction, you may start to feel burned out. This can lead to feelings of cynicism, detachment, and even depression. If you’re feeling like you’re constantly running on empty, it’s important to take a step back and assess whether or not you’re suffering from burnout.
Whether it’s office gossip, backstabbing, or just general drama, office politics can be a major source of stress. This type of stress can lead to feelings of anxiety, paranoia, and even depression. Because office politics can be such a negative experience, it’s important to try and stay away from them as much as possible.
NOTE: Workplace stress is caused by a variety of factors. Some are due to the individual, while others are beyond their control. It’s important to identify the sources of stress at work and take steps to minimize their impact.
Giving Tips To Reduce Work Stress
There are several things you can do to reduce stress at work. Here are a few tips:
Tips For HR Leaders
Here are some for HR leaders to beat down workplace stress:
Office Culture For Healthy Environment
One of the best ways to reduce stress at work is to create a healthy office culture. This includes things like:
- having an open-door policy,
- encouraging communication, and
- promoting a healthy work-life balance.
Activities To Beat Stress
There are several activities you can do to beat stress.
- Some people find that exercise, meditation, and journaling are helpful.
- Others find that talking to a friend or colleague can help them blow off some steam.
Ambiance To Increase Positivity
Creating a positive ambiance at work can go a long way in reducing stress. This could include things like:
- playing calming music,
- having fresh flowers, or
- Make sure the office is well-lit and has comfortable furniture.
Tips For Employees
Employees can follow these tips to reduce their work stress:
- Find out what’s causing your stress: Identifying the source of your stress can help you find ways to minimize its impact.
- Communicate with your boss: if you’re feeling stressed, talk to your boss about it. They may be able to give you some relief by changing your workload or deadlines.
- Limit your exposure to stressful situations: If there are certain people or tasks at work that are particularly stressful, try to limit your exposure to them.
- Take breaks: When you’re feeling stressed, take a few minutes to yourself to relax and rejuvenate. Go for a walk, step outside for some fresh air, or take a quick nap.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Several relaxation techniques can help you manage stress, including deep breathing, meditation, and yoga.
- Choose your tribe: Surround yourself with positive people and things at work. This can help create a more positive outlook and help reduce stress.
- Talk to someone: If you’re feeling stressed, talking to a friend, family member, or therapist can help you manage your stress and find ways to cope.
Striking Work-life Balance
One of the best ways to reduce stress is to strike a healthy work-life balance. This means making time for things outside of work, such as your hobbies, family, and friends. It’s also important to take vacations and sick days when you need them.
Tips For Work-life Balance
There are several things you can do to strike a healthy work-life balance. Here are a few tips:
- Get enough sleep: when you’re well-rested, you’re better able to handle stress. Make sure to get at least seven hours of sleep a night.
- Exercise: exercise releases endorphins, which can help reduce stress. Even just a short walk around the block can make a difference.
- Eat healthily: eating nutritious meals helps your body cope with stress. Avoid processed foods and sugary snacks, which can make you feel worse.
- Take breaks: make sure to take breaks throughout the day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Step away from your work to clear your head and come back refreshed.
- Don’t bring work home with you: when you’re at home, make an effort to disconnect from work. This means putting away your laptop and not checking your work email.
- Set boundaries with your colleagues: let your colleagues know when you’re unavailable and don’t be afraid to say no to additional work.
- Take vacation days and sick days when you need them: don’t feel guilty about taking a day off. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to work.
- Make time for yourself: In addition to taking breaks, make sure to schedule some time for yourself outside of work. This can be used for hobbies, relaxation, or anything else that helps you de-stress.
How Mantra Care EAP Can Help You
If you’re feeling stressed at work, Mantra Care EAP can help. We offer a variety of services, such as counseling, yoga and meditation, and nutrition. With our unique EAP package, we can also help you assess your work-life balance and find ways to reduce stress. We are available 24/7, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
Workplace stress is a common problem that can hurt your health and well-being. If you’re struggling to cope with stress at work, Mantra Care EAP can help. We offer a variety of services to help employees manage stress, including counseling, workshops, and referral services. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you reduce stress in your life.
A Word From MantraCare Wellness
Employee wellness programs are the key to improving employee motivation, productivity, and retention. At MantraCare Wellness, we have a team of health experts, counselors, and coaches who serve corporate employees with 10+ wellbeing programs including EAP, Employee Diabetes Reversal, Corporate MSK, PCOS, Employee Fitness, Corporate Yoga, Employee meditation, and Employee Smoking Cessation.