Stress in the Workplace

What causes stress at work

stress at workFor lots of us the job we do is often one of the largest causes of stress in our lives – this is known as ‘Job Related Stress’ or ‘occupational stress’. There are many reasons why you may be suffering from stress in the workplace, including the obvious – you’re just in the wrong type of job for your personality.

Being unable to cope with the day to day needs of your job can easily lead to acute stress levels building up. Equally (and maybe surprisingly) so can being bored with your occupation and finding it all too easy.

On this page we’ll run through many of the things that cause occupational stress, some are obvious while others may surprise you.

Identifying the causes of your stress is the first, and most important step in self stress management. Without identifying where the stress in the workplace is stemming from, you’ll never be able to take the proper steps to control it. So, read through this list of possible causes of occupational stress and note down the things that you think apply to you, even if you think you can’t do anything about them.

Stress Management is not something someone else does for you, it’s up to you to identify potential stressful factors in your working day and then do something practical to overcome them.

New technology

Technology was supposed to shorten our working week and give us more leisure time, but the reverse seems to be happening, we’re all working longer hours and spending less time on family & leisure activities. Rapid changes in your working environment and working practices often lead to increased job related stress levels. Many people in many different types of jobs and occupations are finding themselves struggling to keep up with the pace of change of modern technology.

Now days, workers often feel like they are just part of the machine, rather than individuals. More people than ever before work alone or in isolation from their colleagues.

Shift Work

This is a prime source of stress in the workplace. It upsets your normal body clock and can interrupt your sleep patterns – this in turn will make you tired, irritable and eventually lead to stress.


Jobs with constant deadlines are another potential source of occupational stress. Time pressures and urgent deadlines nearly always lead to job stress. This effect is doubled if you are prone to setting yourself unrealistic goals and deadlines.

occupational stressLonger Working Hours

If you work too many hours in a week you become unproductive and tiredness & stress sets in. Not getting enough proper sleep is a major cause of stress, a good nights sleep is essential.

Managing your time at work efficiently is on of the most important parts of controlling job related stress. Try not to work long hour and ask whether flexible working hours are available.

Commuting to Work leads to Occupational Stress

Driving used to be fun but in the last 10-15 years it’s become on of the most stressful things you can do, especially at rush hour and in cities. We tend to work further away from home that we used to, and the travel to and from the workplace is often very stressful on today’s congested roads & railways. This commute also greatly extends to working day, lessening the time available for non work activities. Commuting is often one of the most stressful parts of the working day, causing you to arrive at work with the wrong frame of mind and stopping you from concentrating properly.

If the daily commute to work is a main cause of your job related stress then try to do something practical about the problem, this may not be easy to achieve but here are few ideas to get you started.

Is it possible to vary you means of transport & route – boredom is stressful. A slightly longer route avoiding jams might help. Make sure you’ve got your favorite music with you – music therapy works.

Is there anyone you can car share with? Traveling with a friend will help pass the time and help stop road rage type stress.

If all else fails – can you relocate? Move nearer to the workplace or find a job nearer to home.

Stressful Working Conditions

Working in unhealthy conditions will contribute to increased levels of stress in the workplace. Noisy or overly hot, cramped or cluttered, excessively busy places or air conditioned windowless offices, all contribute to occupational stress.

Having no real interest in your job

Working in a job just for the money, this leads to a lack of self value & lack of fulfillment. Most people don’t realize just how stressful this can be and they underestimate the long term effects it can have on their health. This type of occupational stress is the most difficult to spot and challenging to fix, as finding a rewarding job is not always easy.

Boredom Causes Stress in the Workplace

Doing a repetitive mundane job that has a lack of variety also lead slowly to high occupational stress levels.

Work Colleges

Working with people that you don’t like and don’t ‘get on with’ can be a huge source of occupational stress. Spending many hours each day with people you hate can be very bad for your long term health, especially if you get angry or resentful regularly.

Try to find ways to improve your relationships with your colleagues at work.

No Job Security

Gone are the days of a ‘job for life’. The threat of losing a job makes life generally very stressful. Workers also put up with more hassles just to keep a job. Changing occupations is far more common now days – this can be one of the most stressful times in a persons life.

Being a Boss

Being unpopular with the workers and making difficult, often conflicting, decisions, plus having to demote people. All very stressful. Being in change of people is often one of the most stressful types of jobs.

Whatever the main reasons for the stress at work, the first step in effective stress management is to identify the main causes. Once you’ve done this you can then start to find practical, workable solutions to lower long term dangerous stress.

Stress relief techniques

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