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.
Also, some things can stress the 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.
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.
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.
This 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 concern you very much.
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 work place.
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:
- You have a high workload (due to too much or too complicated work) or too low a workload
- You have work that is too easy for you, no challenges and boredom sets in
- Uncertainty about your tasks – bad job description or none at all
- You have a bad relationship or a conflict with your supervisor or a colleague
- You are not being appreciated
- Uncertainty about the future of your job and/or company
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 of what is coming to you.
2. Business goals seem contradictory, colleagues seem to be working against each other
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 competences. 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, competences 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.
If the range of tasks is too large and employees cannot overcome it, there is a 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.
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
Weekend 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 future 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 very 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.
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 last, the more stress will occur, the danger being that it will gradually sneak in and starts to effect you in ways not clearly visible or in feeling badly initially.
You will risk feeling the adverse effects to 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.