Stress is generally caused by too much pressure being put on us by others — or in some cases by ourselves — and if it’s left unchecked, stress can lead to an inability to function effectively, meaning a person will no longer be able to cope with the pressures placed upon them.
But what are the actual causes of workplace stress? Five of the most common causes are listed below.
Work levels – too much work, not enough time, deadlines to hit and in many cases reduced staff numbers means it’s pretty much inevitable that you’ll feel an increase in pressure. Conversely, not having enough to do can be equally stressful particularly in an environment where redundancies are being made.
Career Progression – in a market where recruitment and promotion opportunities are limited it’s very easy to feel bored and trapped in a job. It’s unusual for anyone to want to remain in the same position, on the same pay for an extended period of time so this can be a trigger for stress.
Bad Management – no management or bad management can leave people directionless and confused which can be very stressful. Alternatively, over-management can be equally difficult for employees leaving no room for creativity or growth. The situation is made worse if, like many badly managed companies, there are no proper procedures for making complaints or dealing with problems. This leaves employees to handle situations on their own which can lead not only to an increase in stress but also a sense of fear and isolation.
Bullying – you don’t have to trawl through newspapers or news sites too long before you’ll find horrendous stories of bullying in schools, on-line or in the workplace. Some workplaces show a striking resemblance to a school playground and in a pressurised situation, a bullying colleague or manager can make life a misery and cause a real increase in stress.
Working Conditions – Nowadays most large companies have procedures in place for regular health and safety assessments although it’s still not uncommon for workers to have to deal with under heated or overly hot offices, out of date or damaged equipment, poor lighting, incorrectly set up workstations and high levels of noise. Any of these can make an unpleasant and thus stressful working environment.
The list above will give you a starting point on some of the causes of stress in the workplace. By recognising the cause of any workplace stress, it’s possible to put some practical, effective strategies in place that help you to minimise stress and manage pressure.