What is it

Work-related stress is a growing problem around the world that affects, not only the health and well-being of employees, but also the productivity of organisations.Work-related stress arises where work demands of various types and combinations exceed the person’s capacity and capability to cope. Work-related stress is the second most common compensated illness/injury in Australia, after musculoskeletal disorders.

Work-related stress can be caused by various events. For example, a person might feel under pressure if the demands of their job (such as hours or responsibilities) are greater than they can comfortably manage.Other sources of work-related stress include conflict with co-workers or bosses, constant change, and threats to job security, such as potential redundancy.

In Australia, more than $133.9 million was paid in benefits to workers who had made claims related to workplace stress during the 2004/2005 tax year. According to the National Health and Safety Commission, work-related stress accounts for the longest stretches of absenteeism.

What it includes

What one person may perceive as stressful, however, another may view as challenging. Whether a person experiences work-related stress depends on the job, the person’s psychological make-up, and other factors (such as personal life and general health). 

Symptoms of work-related stress

The signs or symptoms of work-related stress can be physical, psychological and behavioural. 

Physical symptoms include:

Fatigue, Muscular tension, Headaches, Heart palpitations, Sleeping difficulties, such as insomnia Gastrointestinal upsets, such as diarrhoea or constipation, Dermatological disorders.

Psychological symptoms include:

Depression, Anxiety, Discouragement, Irritability, Pessimism
Feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to cope Cognitive difficulties, such as a reduced ability to concentrate or make decisions.

Behavioural symptoms include:

An increase in sick days or absenteeism
Aggression
Diminished creativity and initiative
A drop in work performance
Problems with interpersonal relationships
Mood swings and irritability
Lower tolerance of frustration and impatience
Disinterest Isolation.

What are the main work-related stressors?

All the following issues have been identified as potential stressors at workplaces. A risk management approach will identify which ones exist in your own workplace and what causes them. They include:

Organisation culture
Bad management practices
Job content and demands
Physical work environment
Relationships at work
Change management
Lack of support
Role conflict Trauma.

Causes of work-related stress

Some of the factors that commonly cause work-related stress include:
Long hours
Heavy workload
Changes within the organisation
Tight deadlines
Changes to duties
 Job insecurity
Lack of autonomy
Boring work
Insufficient skills for the job
Over-supervision
Inadequate working environment
Lack of proper resources
Lack of equipment
Few promotional opportunities
Harassment
Discrimination
Poor relationships with colleagues or bosses
Crisis incidents, such as an armed hold-up or workplace death.

What we do

References

Better Health – Victorian Government

Author

Greg Currie

If you require additional information, please call our office on 07 3256 6320. Our mental health focused reception staff will be only too happy to assist you with your enquiry about our service and can suggest the most suitable Psychologist for your concern.