Stress is a major problem for employers and employees alike, costing UK businesses and organisations billions of pounds every year and blighting the lives of millions of people in the workplace and beyond. Employers have a legal responsibility to protect the physical and mental health of their staff, and a key part of this is being able to minimise the risks posed by stress in the workplace.
Five causes of workplace stress
1. Not enough breaks
Working through lunch every day might impress the boss, but sooner or later it’s going to take its toll, creating an opportunity for unnecessary workplace stress. And it’s not just holidays and lunch-breaks that we’re talking about, either – even short screen breaks are essential for re-charging your batteries and giving you a much-needed chance to rest and recuperate.
2. Working when you’re ill
Presenteeism is a huge problem in today’s high-pressure working environments. It’s not just about people coming in sick and under-performing due to workplace stress – unwell employees tend to create more unwell employees as viruses and bacteria spread, and coming back to work before you’re ready can delay the recuperation process too.
3. Difficult people
Dealing with difficult colleagues and customers is a major cause of stress at work and one of the last unmeasured costs to organisations in terms of absence, poor performance and high staff turnover.
4. Lack of control
Not being able to determine our own workload, a lack of consultation and dealing with shifting demands and deadlines can leave us feeling powerless and under-valued, leading to high workplace stress levels and anxiety.
5. Poor working environment
The actual place where we work is extremely important for our wellbeing – so if we’re subjected to constant noise or movement of people around us, bad lighting, not enough space or a poorly configured workstation, it’s going to impact on our performance.
Being able to identify and eliminate triggers for stress is a key starting point for building a mentally healthy workplace where everyone can give their best.
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