There can be a variety of causes of stress. For example, financial problems, difficulties in personal relationships or moving house can all cause stress. Work can also cause stress. We spend over a third of our lives at work and here at Be Empowered know well the affect work can have on our mental health and wellbeing. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has identified the six primary causes of work related stress to be:
The demands of the job - staff can become overloaded if they cannot cope with the amount of work or type of work they are asked to do.
Amount of control over work - staff can feel disaffected and perform poorly if they have no say over how and when they do their work.
Support from managers and colleagues - levels of sickness absence often rise if staff feel they cannot talk to managers about issues troubling them.
Relationships at work – a failure to build relationships based on good behaviour and trust can lead to problems related to discipline, grievances and bullying.
How a role fits within the organisation - staff will feel anxious about their work and the organisation if they don’t know what is expected of them and/or understand how their work fits into the objectives of the organisation.
Change and how it is managed - change needs to be managed effectively or it can lead to huge uncertainty and insecurity.
References and more information
Baum, A. (1990). “Stress, Intrusive Imagery, and Chronic Distress,” Health Psychology, Vol. 6, pp. 653-675.
Anderson, N.B. (1998). “Levels of Analysis in Health Science: A Framework for Integrating Sociobehavioral and Biomedical Research,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 840, pp. 563-576.
Dallman, M. et al. (2003). “Chronic stress and obesity: A new view of ‘comfort food.’” PNAS, Vol. 100, pp. 11696-11701.
Anderson, N.B. & Anderson, P.E. (2003). Emotional Longevity: what really determines how long you live. New York: Viking.
Sinha, R. (2008). “Chronic Stress, Drug Use, and Vulnerability to Addiction.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1141, pp. 105-130.
Vgontzas, A.N. et al. (1997). “Chronic insomnia and activity of the stress system: a preliminary study.” Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Vol. 45, pp. 21-31.
Fox, K.R. (1999). “The influence of physical activity on mental well-being.” Public Health Nutrition, Vol. 2, pp. 411-418.