10 Common Causes of Stress in the Workplace (& How to Mitigate Them)

Stress is a major issue within the workplace that can hinder good health and productivity. By understanding its causes, you can mitigate workplace stress.


Stress is one of the most common work-related issues businesses and workplaces encounter across the globe. It is the most talked about topic than anything else in any work environment. 

79% of employees in the UK were facing stress at work, per a 2020 Perkbox survey. Meanwhile, $133 million was paid to workers in benefits for suffering from workplace stress in Australia. 

Workplace stress requires employers to have effective and efficient strategies to cope with the problem in their workplace. But to implement a proper workplace strategy and approaches to cope with this problem requires that we are familiar with the causes of the problem in the first place.


Top 10 Causes of Stress at Work 




Here’re some of the most common causes of stress in the workplace, and important tips on how to deal with each one of them:


1. Toxic Workplace Culture


Recruitment website Monster describes a toxic work culture as a place where drama and dysfunction reign. Be it in person or working remotely, this issue can create severe stress among the staff members and colleagues. 

Employers or those managing workers must be vigilant on the issue and have a thorough risk assessment in their workplace to eradicate toxicity and stress in the workplace.


2. Poor Working Conditions


Another leading cause of workplace stress is poor working conditions, such as physically dangerous environments that could be improved, non-ergonomic facilities, and bad lighting.

Poor or bad work conditions result in a stressful environment, which in turn affects employees’ safety, productivity, and performance. 

Enforce employee safety measures and give them flexibility in where, when, and how they work whenever possible. Also give employees the right tools to stay productive, while also ensuring their health and safety always in the workplace.


3. Bullying & Harassment 


Bosses and managers being too controlling is a common issue and stressor seen in many work environments. It tends to lead to bullying and harassment in the workplace. 

Many people deal with workplace bullying every day at work from colleagues and other quarters as well, and this problem needs immediate consideration by managers and employers.  

Have strict anti-gossip and anti-harassment policies, and take swift action against offenders to discourage and stop bullying and harassment in the workplace.


4. Lack of Support


Support from colleagues, supervisors, and managers can help workers feel motivated and inspired to keep going. Employees who are not receiving enough support can develop stress, depression, and anxiety at work which may lead to low productivity and other maladies.

Listen to employees whenever they have something to say, and provide all the support you can, including professional, social, and emotional support as much as possible to mitigate stress and build a healthy working environment for everyone.


5. Demanding Job Roles or Managers


Employers and managers play a vital role in keeping the workforce engaged and improving their performance. However, overly demanding bosses and unreasonable deadlines can put serious stress and pressure on employees.

Don’t be too demanding on workers. Give them reasonable workloads and tasks to complete the work in the best possible way without undue pressure. Otherwise, it could lead them to stress, burnout, and even sick absence, which lowers productivity and causes high employee turnover.


6. Job Security


Job security is another common workplace stressor, although it may only affect a small percentage of employees. There is no one ideal metric that provides full job security, but be empathetic and acknowledge employees’ anxiety, especially where they don’t have a contract or are not protected by labor legislation or a collective bargaining agreement.

Keep employees informed about their job status always and make training opportunities available to develop their professional skills and improve their employability. You can also offer contract work with benefits and good renumeration to assuage financial fears, or other similar measures to improve job security.

Employees need to feel secure in their job, or else it could lead to stress and low performance.


7. Insufficient Staff Training


As already alluded to above, workplace training plays a significant role in managing and coping with issues like productivity, stress, and anxiety at work. 

Employers must arrange regular training sessions for their employees that include mental health training, stress at work training, stress risk assessment, and health and safety at work training.

This helps them build their capabilities and develop strong capacities to implement the best and most effective approaches and techniques to cope with various issues and risks within the organization.


8. Relationships at Work


Because employees spend more time with their colleagues than even with their family, they can build stronger relationships and associations with a few of them. Some coworkers may not be very welcoming, while others can build envious feelings and jealousy over time. 

Such workplace relationship issues can be major stressors within organizations and can lead to physical and mental health issues. They should be managed swiftly and effectively to prevent bad outcomes. 

Schedule time to openly discuss and resolve issues in the workplace. Listen and offer as much assistance as is required to foster good personal and interpersonal relationships at work.


9. Lack of Growth Opportunities


Every employee wants to feel valued and needs opportunities to grow within their field of work. Workplaces and managers that don’t provide or create enough growth opportunities for their staff members can devalue them, which may increase stress and dissatisfaction in some of them. 

Employers need to remember that every employee has dreams and ambitions that mean something to them. By helping staff grow, develop, and meet their professional dreams and capabilities, employers can retain them and get the best out of them for longer.

Reduce barriers to professional progression and support workers in continuing their education, participating in professional associations, and enrolling in skill based training.


10. Work-life Balance  


Remote and hybrid working has become a new standard in many workplaces and organizations today. Embrace the new work models where applicable, making sure to plan ahead and combine work activities with leisure, social, and or fitness activities.

Maintaining a proper work-life balance can help minimize stress, depression, and anxiety at work, while also boosting productivity and a positive workplace culture. 

So, strive for a healthy work-life balance where you meet deadlines while still having time for friends and hobbies.


In Conclusion


Stress and anxiety are common but major issues within the workplace that can lead to severe health, safety, and productivity concerns. As such, employers have a legal and moral duty to manage workplace stress and ensure the safety, health, and productivity of their workforce. 

Ask for feedback from your employees regarding their work and working environment regularly, and make improvements accordingly to reduce stress. This way you will create a healthy and conducive workplace environment for employees to deliver their best work.

Jessica James is a writer and blogger with a core focus to make the workplace safer and welcoming for all. She is always looking to bring her passion of helping others into her work, providing excellent, expert advice on occupational health and safety. All digital certifications were received from Human Focus.