We all know the feeling of being horribly stressed at work. But what causes stress at work? A 2001 study carried out by the University of Plymouth on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council of England could give us a good indication.
Although the aims of the study were to identify the main causes of stress at work for Higher Education Institutions, their findings provide a good basis for other organisations to target in an effort to reduce the levels of stress in the workplace – here are three of the main causes of stress at work, and our input on how to tackle them. You can read more by visiting the University of Cambridge’s website here.
Unsurprisingly, the study revealed that long hours are one of the main causes of stress at work.
Now, some organisations rely heavily on workers completing long shifts – hospitals, for example. But are long shifts really the right thing for your organisation? Especially if they’re causing your staff to feel unnecessarily stressed?
If your people work long hours and you want to reduce the overall stress of your workplace, why not see if you can adjust working patterns and break shifts into smaller, more manageable chunks?
Another big source of workplace stress is worrying about job security.
There are several reasons employees might be worried about the security of their job – for example, will they still be needed in 5 years? 10 years? Will the company even still be around at this point?
If you feel like your people are worrying about their job security, then there are a few things you could try:
- Make it clear what your company’s future is – if you share both your long-term goals and current state of affairs with your people, then it might be enough to reassure them that their employment is also in a safe position
- Reward hard work – this is something we talk a lot about, and we can’t ‘stress’ it enough (if you’ll pardon the pun): If somebody has done something great, reward them. This doesn’t have to be big or grand, and could be something as simple as saying ‘thanks’. If your people are being rewarded for the results they’re producing, then they are less likely to worry about whether or not they’re good enough.
We spend most of our waking lives at work, and so it is very important that we get along with our colleagues. It makes sense then that workplace relationships – and not just romantic ones – are one of the leading causes of stress at work.
If you feel like things are a bit shaky, why don’t you do something with your team away from the office, or organise some team-building activities to help your people understand each other better?
What’s Your Biggest Workplace Stressor?
Is it one of these three things that makes you feel the most stressed at work? If not, then what is it?