Stress in The Workplace

Working can be a really positive influence in your life as it can give it structure and provide satisfaction as you go about your daily routines.
A certain amount of pressure at work can be a good thing because it can help you to perform better and prepare you for the challenges and actions you might have to face.

However, if pressure and demands become too much, they can lead to work-related stress. Work-related stress can be caused by a number of things. You might feel under pressure at work because of your workload, deadlines, the environment you work in or your colleagues.
In fact stress affects one in five people in the working population and is the biggest cause of sickness in the UK. Over 105 million working days are lost each year because of work-related stress.

More people than ever are calling in sick and quitting their jobs because of work-related stress, according to recent research.
Nearly 20 per cent of the 2,050 workers surveyed by the charity Mind said they phoned in sick to avoid work because of unmanageable stress levels, yet almost everyone lied about why they felt ill.

Over-stressed workers are much more likely to blame a stomach bug or a headache than admit they are not coping with long hours, excessive workloads or bullying. These figures suggest hundreds of thousands of the UK’s 40 million workforce suffer mental distress as a direct result of difficult, uncaring and burdensome jobs.

Employees who start to feel the “pressure to perform” can get caught in a downward spiral of increasing effort to meet rising expectations with no increase in job satisfaction at all. The relentless requirement to work at optimum performance takes its toll in job dissatisfaction, employee turnover, reduced efficiency and even illness and death. A quote on the results of long term stress

“Absenteeism, illness, alcoholism, “petty internal politics”, bad or snap decisions, indifference and apathy, lack of motivation or creativity are all by-products of an over stressed workplace”.” (From: Canadian Mental Health Association, “Sources of Workplace Stress”)

Some of the key symptoms of stress

  • Feeling that you can’t cope.
  • Being unable to concentrate.
  • Lacking confidence.
  • A loss of motivation and commitment.
  • Disappointment with yourself

You might also have emotional symptoms

  • Negative or depressive feelings.
  • Increased emotional reactions (for example, you’re tearful or sensitive).
  • Irritability or having a short temper.
  • Feeling overwhelmed.
  • Mood swings.

You may also get physical symptoms

  • Diarrhoea or constipation.
  • Indigestion.
  • Headaches.
  • Weight changes.
  • Chest pains.
  • Joint or back pain.

Your behaviour might also change

  • Eating more or less.
  • Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Isolating yourself from others.
  • Drinking alcohol, smoking or taking illegal drugs to relax.