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The 9 common causes of work-related stress only a handful of people know

Work-related stress remains a huge menace to all stakeholders at the workplace. It is normal to have your job pushing you hard. At times, instances of frustration arising from demanding work schedules and tight deadlines push even harder than normal. In the main, all of these are expected, and the working theory is that you can handle them. However, if the demands of your job push you or a colleague towards work-related stress, then it is right that a solution is sought.

Most people lack a clear divide between their life at home and work. Where this is true, it opens said persons up for the continued effect of the at work stress to impact them for longer. It is, therefore, both unhealthy and counterproductive.

The contrast, however, is that work-related stress is not all negative. While internal competition amongst co-workers can be strenuous, for example, it is also credited with increasing the overall productivity of the team. It also makes the individual employees better at their jobs. The downside is the thin line between good work-related stress and the harmful kind. This article addresses the cause of both kinds of workplace stress.

Work-related stress: causes and impacts

The stress from work can be motivating, push you past your comfort zone and help you do your best or it can be overwhelming, damaging to your health, have negative effects on your mood, disrupt relationships and reduce the quality of life. Is your personal well-being feeling the impact of stress at work? Work stress can be seen in tension, carelessness, difficulty sleeping, absenteeism, depression and constant looking for other jobs. This article reviews the causes of stress in the workplace and is a guide to help you in managing work-related stress.

The actual causes of work-related stress vary wildly. However, the huge size of employees who suffer from workplace stress often cite the same and most dominant stressors time and again. It is imperative therefore that we understand such major causes of workplace stressors as outlined below.

Workplace Stressor #1: Employee workload

A list of work requirements that exceed the person’s ability to manage them. E-mails, projects, excessive meetings, too little time, managing too many departments. Work overload happens when too much information is given to the employee in order to meet productivity requirements.

Before you’re overloaded, try to maintain control over your projects. It is not fair for the company or you to have unrealistic expectations of work demands. Set boundaries, say No, or reduce the quality of work. What can you do if you are continuously pressured in an unrealistic environment? You can make small adjustments to make a workload more manageable. Just because your job may be chaotic and unorganized doesn’t mean you have to be.

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Start by becoming more organized within your work environment. Working in a more organized space, allows the brain to free up energy that would otherwise be preoccupied and distracted in a messy office. Tasks are much easier to accomplish as well if you know where your things are and are at ease. Prioritize your tasks by focusing on the three most important things that need to be done for the day. Then choose three things that need to be done that week and then for that month. Focus on accomplishing these important tasks first. Many people just focus on the easiest tasks first, which might help them get done but they may not be the best use of their time.

Work-related stress optimism message

Avoid as many work-related stress causes as you can. Photo: Prateek Katyal Arenas/ Pexels

Workplace Stressor #2: Bull-ish bosses

Bosses who bully are more likely to cause individuals to make more mistakes, take sick time when not sick, hide from their bosses, and slow down their work. Bullying bosses create unnecessary pressure and drain the worker from reaching their full potential. Bullying happens in many forms in the workplace, often by the same people seen bullying their peers as children. Bosses who bully may yell at employees, make threats, embarrass their workers, use excessive criticism, ignore or require the employee to complete tasks that place their job at risk.

Bullying bosses can be receptive to positive reinforcement and others modeling good behavior. When your boss is treating you respectfully, comment on how much you like what they are doing. Remain calm during their tantrums and be a good role model for them. If you remain unsure about your bullying boss, speak to a human resources representative. Gather and use your support system to help you cope with them, these can either be coworkers or friends and family.

Workplace Stressor #3: Work schedules and deadlines

Planning out how much time a given task will take may help give you a more accurate and reasonable perception of what deadline is needed. From there, you can try to negotiate a later deadline. Explain how you need to get this and that done and what date you reasonably expect to have it completed based on your calculations.

Check-in with yourself when you are completing the project. Are you working reasonably? Or are you focused on perfection? Maybe you are not focused at all and have been distracted and have been unable to put 100% into the project. Lastly, are you working as efficiently as you can? A good rule of thumb is to plan out twice as much time as you think you need initially when planning a project.

Workplace Stressor #4: Long hours/ week hours

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Long hours due to commute time, and productivity requirements contribute to work-related stress. Excessive hours seated at a desk reduces the time for physical activity or social life. Long hours at work can cause unhappiness about the time devoted to work. Spending too much time at the office and neglecting other aspects of life increases vulnerability to mental health problems. Long hours create a snowball effect, meaning the more hours you contribute at work the more hours you spend worrying or thinking about work when outside of work.

Give yourself structure in regards to time limits for finishing certain tasks. Consider the link between long hours and mental disorders seriously by scheduling time for yourself as well. Naturally, manage work-related stress by taking adequate breaks by going on a walk and enjoying the sunshine.

Workplace Stressor #5: Poor resources

Downsizing, poor organization, inadequate training, employee capabilities, inefficient administration, outdated/underperforming technology, and other shortages. There can be confusion amongst the roles of managers and employees within the company that can cause tension. When there is tension, and no one to go to for help, frustrations increase even more. Managers are a key resource in problem-solving in the workplace. Poor management may generate more stress based on job type.

Employers should look to increase resources that help worker’s personal characteristics such as coping skills (problem-solving, assertiveness, time management) and providing a good work environment and support system. Employers can compensate for lacking the resources by focusing on making workers feel safe, allowing workers to take part in the decision-making process, and hiring outside consultancy services as needed. Workers can focus on communicating their needs effectively and demonstrating how meeting these needs will benefit the workplace.

Workplace Stressor #6: Work-life balance

It is hard to unplug the demands of work after you have left the office for the day. Answering work-related e-mails at home has become the norm, juggling home and work life is difficult. Signs that you have an unbalanced work-life is if you are growing more depressed about the time you are putting into your job. A balanced work-life is one that includes time for family, friends, work, exercise, leisure activities, and sufficient sleep.

Exploring the 7 dimensions of wellness to evaluate which areas you lack will help boost your work-life balance. Ask yourself where you feel more time should be devoted to and know your values and personal goals to inform how you pursue them. You may also apply the 10 basic tricks to increase your self-worth and manage your work-life balance better. There is a reason why the term, “Do what you love, love what you do” has become so popular. People are catching on that work isn’t everything and life is way too short to not do what makes you happy.

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Workplace Stressor #7: Relationship issues

Tension at work can be high, and in most cases, there aren’t enough solutions at the office. There can be a conflict between customers, coworkers, and bosses. Oftentimes work issues can take the form of bullying, harassment, and co-workers taking advantage of other co-workers. There can be a lack of communication or recognition for employees that end up finishing another’s work.

Utilize your in-home support systems to balance out work-related relationship issues. Using partner support has many positive benefits that can counteract the stressors felt from your job. The benefits include higher marital satisfaction, being less critical of others, the higher concentration at work, less fatigue, higher job satisfaction, and higher views of your career going in the right direction.

Workplace Stressor #8: Technology changes

Changes in the workplace due to updates and outdated technology happen daily. Workers are expected to keep up with changes in systems, programs and methods without training or demonstrating how the new technology works. Even if they are given training, employees can become frustrated for having to take time away from completing important work tasks. Poor planning exacerbates the issue and creates confusion and doubt among workers. Having to keep up with industry standards in a fast-paced tech environment can be nerve-wracking.

Are you a person who handles change well? If you are not, what about the idea of change bothers you on a personal level? Are you fearful of the new technology failing? Are you scared this new technology will replace your job? How might you be able to prepare for the technology change on a personal level? Accepting that technology is out there is a part of managing work-related stress.

Workplace Stressor #9: Administration difficulties

Oftentimes poor administration causes unnecessary red tape. The complexities alone can create frustration due to: delays, waiting for ok, excessive documentation and policies. Red tape can have a negative impact on workers’ feelings of burden, innovation, reduces productivity and creates doubts regarding the career choices of their employees.

Companies should focus on analyzing situations strategically and shifting priorities. It is difficult for one employee to single-handedly rid its company of unnecessary administrative bureaucracy. As frustrating as it may be, there are probably valid reasons for your company’s policies. Oftentimes if you are able to gather some more information about the reasons for the rules it may help you accept them more.

The extra information may leave you feeling more satisfied with your job. Resisting any processes within the workforce may make the task seem longer and even more tedious. Instead, try to get a head start on projects and reuse any previously submitted work as templates for your new project, this may help you get through the approval process faster.

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