Work Stress Causes, Consequences, and How to Solve It
In our society, work stress is becoming increasingly common among workers, who have to face a heavy workload, tight deadlines, and constant pressure daily, which is reflected in their physical and mental health worsening.
The World Health Organization officially recognized burnout syndrome or “being burned by work” in 2019, describing it as an emotional disorder resulting from chronic stress that generates physical and mental exhaustion.
Stress at work refers to the physical and emotional response that a person experiences when they perceive an imbalance between work demands and their resources to cope with them.
Most common causes of work stress
Work overload. High job demands, such as meeting tight deadlines and handling many tasks, can lead to stress for employees.
You need to be always available. The constant flow of communication, including constant phone calls, can cause stress at work if you need the tools to manage it. The need to respond immediately can lead to burnout.
Lack of control. The feeling of not having control over the volume of daily work can be very stressful for the Worker.
Toxic work environment. Workplace bullying, interpersonal conflicts, and lack of support from superiors and co-workers can lead to high-stress levels.
Job insecurity. Constant worry about job security, lack of stability, and pressure to keep the job can cause physical and emotional discomfort.
The imbalance between work and personal life. The inability to balance work responsibilities and personal activities, long work hours, and lack of time for rest and leisure can affect employees.
Each person can experience stress differently. To reduce it, it is essential to identify the causes to reduce its impact.
Consequences of work stress for Worker’s Health
Work stress can have consequences for the physical and mental health of workers; these are the main ones:
Cardiovascular disease: Stress can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Musculoskeletal disorders: A stressful job can cause muscle tension, back, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as aggravate disorders such as fibromyalgia.
Gastrointestinal problems: living under work stress can alter digestive function, causing abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and heartburn.
Sleep disorders: It is easy for a stressed worker to find it difficult to fall asleep and maintain a restful rest. Similarly, it can also cause insomnia.
Anxiety: Prolonged stress can trigger and worsen anxiety symptoms and lead to panic attacks.
Depression: Dealing with chronic stress increases feelings of sadness. The Worker may feel drained of energy and find it difficult to enjoy leisure time.
Emotional exhaustion: The feeling of exhaustion, the lack of motivation, and the inability to face work challenges are typical of the stressed Worker.
Cognitive problems: Prolonged stress can affect concentration, memory, and decision-making.
How to reduce stress at work
To help reduce professional stress, achieving a healthy work environment and offering the worker emotional support is recommended. In addition, there are technological tools to achieve correct stress management through better work organization. These are some of the formulas that Ringover experts recommend to manage stress at work:
Prioritize and plan. You have to organize tasks efficiently, establishing realistic priorities and deadlines. You can also break large tasks into smaller parts and tackle them in stages.
Set limits and delegate. Learn to say “no” when necessary and delegate responsibilities to other co-workers to distribute the workload.
Improve time management skills. It is convenient to establish effective time management techniques to optimize productivity and reduce feeling overwhelmed.
Practice relaxation techniques. Activities like meditation, mindfulness, or yoga can help reduce stress and make you feel more relaxed.
Maintain a routine of physical exercise. Regular exercise is beneficial in relieving stress and improving mood. You must look for physical activities to the Worker’s liking and perform them constantly.
Reconcile with clear limits. It is essential to establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Define break times, digital disconnection, and leisure activities to balance work responsibilities.
Seek social support. Maintaining a support network inside and outside work can help manage stress. Sharing experiences and concerns with colleagues, friends, or family can be liberating.
Communicate needs. Expressing concerns and needs clearly and respectfully with superiors and co-workers is vital to finding support and seeking joint solutions.
Ask for help when necessary. There is no need to be afraid of seeking professional help from psychologists specializing in work stress.
Identify development opportunities. Seeking opportunities for growth and training at work can help strengthen skills and improve confidence in job performance, reducing stress levels.
Have collaborative tools. Automatic task management can become a great ally to minimize stress levels on vacation and after summer.
Set achievable goals. Keeping in mind realistic goals and achievable short- and long-term challenges provides a sense of achievement and extra motivation.
Find a purpose. Connecting with an individual work purpose can increase satisfaction and personal well-being in the work environment.