13 Major Causes of work Stress – Be Aware!


If you suffer from work stress, it is important to learn why you experience this stress. Work stress is often linked to a high workload: work that is too much or too difficult. But did you know that too easy work, in which you do not find a challenge, can also be a reason for work stress? As you will see there are different types of stress and not all are bad, as there is such a thing as healthy work stress.

Stress points subjective

causes of work stress

Also, some things can stress one person while someone else does not feel the pressure. For example, a task change: one finds this challenging, while another absolutely does not want it. It illustrates how important it is that you have work that gives you satisfaction and what suits you.

Work hardest, most stress?

Those who are very busy also suffer the most from stress. You would think. However, this is often not the case. Most work stress is due to other issues, which you should be aware of and I like to point out below.

Want to get away from stressing bosses/colleagues? Become your own boss and read the last paragraph!

Healthy stress

Here, you can think of giving a presentation. Many people find giving a presentation quite scary. You have the full attention of an audience and this makes you feel very watched. In addition, generally bad thoughts are going through your head. Am I going to fail? I hope it goes well! I will soon forget my text. Things like that can all go through your mind. So this is a form of stress. Your heart rate often goes up even more. In other words, you are a bit sharper than usual.

healthy stressThis is especially important during a presentation because you can present better. It makes you sharper. You may have experienced the following. You are very tired. You are not sharp at all. But then you get into a nerve-racking situation and that fatigue disappears like snow in the sun. That is a typical form of stress. You are suddenly alert.

Needless to say that this needs not to concern you very much.

Unhealthy stress

With healthy stress, the stress should generally disappear once the exciting situation has ended. This is the essential difference with unhealthy stress. In general, unhealthy stress is stress that lasts for a longer period. I have described the consequences of unhealthy work stress in this article. The complaints are therefore long-lasting. This can be very unhealthy in the long and even the short term. For this reason, this article will focus on unhealthy stress at the workplace.

Causes of work stress

In fact, there are many causes of work stress, some of which might be very subtle ( the way somebody smells). Here are some not so subtle:

  1. You have a high workload (due to too much or too complicated work) or too low a workload
  2. You have work that is too easy for you, no challenges and boredom sets in
  3. Uncertainty about your tasks – bad job description or none at all
  4. You have a bad relationship or a conflict with your supervisor or a colleague
  5. You are not being appreciated
  6. Uncertainty about the future of your job and/or companycauses of work stress

and a number of other factors, which annoy us individually at some time or another. Here I would like to mention 13 major stress causes and what can be done about it.

13 Major causes of work stress

1. It is unclear what my supervisor expects from me

This is one of the main causes of work stress, and executives can do something about it by being clear from day one about what the company expects from its employees, and what the manager himself expects of them. And also: what the employee himself can expect from his manager and from the company. This should start immediately after entering (from the employee or manager) or immediately after a restart of the company or part thereof. Being immediately clear removes a lot of uncertainty and helps well against work stress.

So, now you know what to expect and you can adjust to it or not. But in any case you should be clear about what is coming to you.

2. Business goals seem contradictory, colleagues seem to be working against each other

what to do?Every person should know which way to go, job descriptions clear and the same counts for the various departments and their competencies. So, one should invest in team building and all kinds of other activities that promote mutual understanding. This reduces the risk of conflicts due to misunderstandings, and it increases mutual communication between business units.

3. Uncertainty of extra work that could be coming

As an employee this can highly disturb your entire working routine.

As a manager, take this fear seriously. Commit additional training and development opportunities when other tasks are added. If it is mainly the amount of work that is increasing, make sure that people can do the work more autonomously and more flexibly. So more time organizing themselves, possibly more homework. And hire a few more people, if possible.

4. How long do I keep my job and how long will this company last?

The main weapon against this existential fear is to let employees talk more, more intensively and better about their work and the way they do it. This creates confidence in each other’s skills and competencies. And trust that you can get the job done together. It creates better teamwork, so very necessary in each company.

5. Other talents, skills, knowledge, competencies are required

It must be clear why the company wants this, why it is necessary and what the connection is with the (medium) long-term goals. Also you should be aware of what development opportunities and career paths there are, within and outside the company, to grow to the required level.

6. Overload

If the range of tasks is too large and employees cannot overcome it, there is atoo much work chance that they will become overloaded. Sometimes resulting in burn-out and a long absence. A staff shortage can also play a role. Some sectors suffer from a chronic shortage of personnel, which means that one person has to do the work of two (or even more) people. You should ask your management to find solutions immediately.

7. Underload

Employees, who have to do the same thing all the time, but actually have more to offer? If you do not pay attention to this, this can lead to a so-called bore-out among your staff. Employees who no longer feel that they are doing meaningful work can be stressed by this.

8. An unsuitable workplace

It may seem like an afterthought, but it surely is not. A workplace determines how an employee feels. Too much or too little light, too much noise, sitting too close to each other or a bad desk where you are sitting in a completely wrong position. These are all factors that undermine the feeling of well-being in the workplace. See my corresponding article here.

9. Feeling misunderstood

An employer who takes his employees to a higher level? This is especially possible if employees feel understood. Do you hardly give your staff confidence and support? Then they are more likely to start with negative feelings. Therefore adequate communication is very necessary and this should never stop.

10. Working irregularly

too much overtimeWeekend work, (night) shifts and overtime: it is often a source of stress. A flexible timetable can be nice, but some regularity is advisable. An employee needs structure, however flexible that structure may be, some framework is needed.

11. Too little wages

You work hard every day, but the wages are not in line? This gives employees the feeling that they do not really count and that they lack appreciation. It is often a source of frustration and thus stress. Be aware of this and take away this source of unease.

12. No perspective

Not everyone wants to become a manager. However, employees usually find it important to be able to grow in their position or within the company. If there are few or no options in this area, this may lead to dissatisfaction for some employees.

13. Bad atmosphere

Management, staff, the team. A company is a group of people. Often from verybad workplace different people. It is important as a leader to create a good atmosphere. A bad working atmosphere can cause many problems. Employees who drag themselves to work every day? You should not want to see that.

Final thoughts

Many of you might recognize the above-mentioned causes and also many of you might think: so what? I can live through this or things will get better and more of these ideas. I am afraid, however, that this will not cut it. The longer a situation lasts, the more stress will occur, the danger is that it will gradually sneak in and starts to affect you in ways not clearly visible or in feeling badly initially.

Own business

You will risk feeling the adverse effects on your mind and body at a very late stage, which I will explain in my next article. The crux of what I am saying is that you should always take some form of action at an early stage. Even if it means changing jobs or starting your own business.

If you would feel out of place in a corporate structure then this opportunity, becoming your own boss, is for you.

6 thoughts on “13 Major Causes of work Stress – Be Aware!”

  1. I can’t agree with you more regarding taking early actions if your job is causing stress. You have rightly pointed out the major causes of stress.

    A technically less competent manager ignoring your contribution and taking credit for your work can dangerously affect you.

    Employees putting you down for no reason can impact.

    Managers can be racial and your good work can be ignored. It can be stressful.

    Some people stay closer to the managers and can get away with less work.

    Your goals are hazy so performance is not appreciated.

    Your manager is the Supreme authority to write whatever he wants and you might get stressed for the wrong evaluation.

    • Nice expression: stay close to the manager for licking his boots! Unfortunately, people get away with it, as some managers are susceptible to sweet talking. Using the racial angle is a very nasty one indeed and can lead to a lot of stress. Immediate action is required!

  2. I completely agree with everything you have stated on the article, specially with having a high workload being the number of cause of work stress. Unfortunately, I have experienced this type of work stress which I brought on myself because I couldn’t say no to the huge amount of work I was being handed. What would you suggest might be the solution for some of these types os stress? And how could I decrease or even prevent work stress from happening in the first place?

    • Awareness of what can cause stress is one thing, hence this article. Your stress problem is one of assertiveness as well as knowing yourself. Remain polite and start refusing all this extra work. It is ok to tell somebody you cannot take on more work at a certain point. You also have to ask yourself why you take on so much work and what it brings you. Does your boss see it and reward you?

  3. Stress is the most dangerous thing in my opinion because it makes you unhealthy mentally and physically. You’ve written well about the stress so I finally know what type of stress I am feeling and it’s the worst feeling. Overthinking is one of the biggest issues of my stress and it hampers my productivity and my willingness to work. In these times when there is a lot of competition and uncertainty most of us have negative thoughts that lead to depression and it’s better to take action but sometimes we don’t know what action to take and how to cope up with stress. 

    • Stress is so dangerous because it is a silent killer. It creeps up on you over time and you will not notice anything until it is too late and you have a serious problem. It is a good thing that you know the cause of your issue as this is the beginning of a solution. If you are the worrying kind, like me, then taking it a bit easier will take time. But it can be done.


Leave a Comment