Workplace stress is hard to handle at the best of times, but when unemployment is high, redundancies are common and competition for promotions is so fierce it’s frightening, workplace stress levels go through the roof. The problem with workplace stress is it is often hard to identify other than a general feeling of ‘being stressed’. Being able to identify the root cause of that stress means you can take steps to dry and deal with it.
Below are the top 10 causes of stress in the workplace, which might help you find out where yours is coming from.
10 Poor Working Environment
Although most major companies will have procedures in place for regular health and safety assessments, many smaller companies do not. Draughty offices, old or broken equipment, poor lighting, uncomfortable furniture, lack of heating in winter, overheating in summer and excessively high levels of noise can make for an extremely stressful working environment.
9 No Support Network
Workplaces with weak, or non-existent, human resources structures, and a lack of proper procedures for making complaints or dealing with problems, mean that employees are left to handle situations on their own. This can cause a huge amount of stress and a sense of fear and isolation.
You may think that once you leave the playground bullying becomes a thing of the past. Not so unfortunately. Workplaces can bear a striking similarity to playgrounds when the pressure is on and a bullying colleague can make life hell. Worse still is a superior who manages by bullying, or takes their problems and worries out on their team.
7 Bad Management
A lack of strong and effective management can leave a team directionless, and individuals in a state of disorganized confusion that is very stressful. Conversely, over-management and micromanagement are claustrophobically stressful for employees and leave no room for creativity or growth.
6 Blame Culture
The unfortunate consequence of a lack of job security is that no one wants to stick their head above the parapet and admit to mistakes in case it costs them their job. Unfortunately, in this kind of culture, if you can’t admit to mistakes you are unlikely to progress and learn. Also when it comes to pinpointing the cause of issues that have arisen, if no one can admit fault, scapegoating becomes common, creating an atmosphere of fear and mistrust that is very stressful to work in every day.
5 The Wrong Job
If you find yourself in a job that you have insufficient skills or experience to handle, you’re going to feel like you’re sinking from the word go. When you can’t ask for training or help because you don’t want to admit you’re not right for it, the stress increases twofold.
No one wants to remain in the same position, on the same pay for an extended period of time, but many careers are currently stifled by a market where little hiring or promotion is being done. Even though you may have a job, not being able to get to your next level can make you feel bored and trapped, which can be stressful.
3 Job Security
Things have changed a lot in the last 50 years and job security doesn’t really exist anymore. However, in an economic downturn, where lay offs are being made and hires are not, the stress of not having job security can be seriously magnified.
2 Being Underworked
Not such an obvious stress factor, but in the current environment where redundancies are still being made, no one wants to be seen to be twiddling their thumbs and being paid to do nothing on the company’s time. This is especially hard if you have no control over your workflow.
1 Being Overworked
Probably the most obvious of all the stress factors. If you have too much work to do, insufficient time to do it in, and unreasonable pressure on you to hit those deadlines, even the most capable employee is going to feel the heat.