Work Related Stress
What is Work Related Stress?
Most jobs will involve some level of stress, and this level will fluctuate over time as a result of various factors. However, when occupational stress becomes excessive or chronic, it can cause significant problems for an individual’s physical health, and increase the risk of anxiety and mood related problems.
Work Related Stress Symptoms
People experience stress in a variety of different ways. Signs of work-related stress can include:
New physical ailments or an increase of existing issues including headaches, muscular aches and pains, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, fatigue, sleep difficulties, or stomach upsets
Irritability, mood swings, worrying, helplessness, a sense of disconnection from colleagues and others, concentration/memory difficulties, or issues with decision-making
- Taking frequent sick leave from work
- Going to work but being unproductive
- Making avoidable errors at work, or performing below the usual standard
- Thinking about the job outside the workplace
- Completing work tasks at home despite being ‘off the clock’
- Checking work emails at home
- Avoiding family/social engagements
- Having a short temper
- Eating too much or too little
- Drinking more alcohol than usual or smoking more than usual
- Using prescription or non-prescription drugs to ‘wind down’ after work
Work Related Stress Causes
Some issues that might contribute to stress at work include:
- Factors specific to the job such as poor physical conditions, safety issues, unrealistic deadlines, long hours, or an unmanageable workload
- Factors specific to the individual’s role in the organisation such as confusion about responsibilities, poor job-person fit, poor time management, difficulties in managing separate or conflicting roles within an organisation (for example, that of supervisor and colleague), or uncertainty about the future of the organisation
- Career development issues such as being passed up for a promotion, or lack of job security
- Relationship issues such as poor support from supervisors, conflict with co-workers, harassment, discrimination or bullying
- Problems with organisational structure/climate such as low levels of perceived control over work tasks, over-supervision, lack of consultation on important issues, office politics, or budget problems
- External stressors such as a long commute to work, lack of sleep, grief/loss, separation/divorce, mental/physical illness or caring responsibilities.
Treatment for Work Related Stress
Work related stress can be treated using a number of methods however to determine which treatment is best suited, Kathryn will ask questions about the individual’s history, circumstances, thoughts, feelings and behaviours to gain an understanding of factors that might be contributing to the person’s difficulties and work out a treatment best suited to the client.
Further Reading & Support
Australian Psychological Society (APS)
Australia’s largest professional association for psychologists.
A 24-hour counselling, suicide prevention and mental health support service
Telephone: 13 11 14.
Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program
Provides an evidence-based assessment of the psychological health of a particular workplace along with access to best advice and resources designed to improve staff wellbeing, engagement and performance.
Safe Work Australia
An agency responsible for developing national policies and strategies for workplace health and safety.