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Dealing with stress in the workplace

Updated: Oct 10, 2019

Changes in workplace environments have led to increased pressure on employees and may be a source of stress. People seem to be working longer and harder, and there is increased tension around performance issues and job satisfaction. Events that may lead to stress at work include:

Dealing with stress in the workplace | The Clinic
  • Work settings that are highly competitive, overly authoritarian, lack safety regulations and do not promote a friendly and supportive environment.

  • A lack of support for those in highly stressful roles such as nurses and police officers.

  • Being dissatisfied in your job or feeling unappreciated for the role that you perform. When employees find their work rewarding, they are better able to handle the stress of workplace demands.

  • Feeling insecure in your work position. Threats of downsizing, mergers and bankruptcy cause distress for many employees.

  • Positions without good job descriptions where performance expectations may be unclear.

  • The growth of casual work which pushes people into positions that don't offer long-term security or a chance for advancement.

  • An increase in workplace bullying.

Creating a happier workplace

Several areas have been identified as important in meeting employee satisfaction.

A happier workplace reduces stress | The Clinic

These are:

  • Appropriate workload

  • A sense of control with work

  • Gaining rewards: not only monetary rewards but also personal satisfiers

  • A good relationship with co-workers

  • The perception of fairness in the workplace

  • A match between personal and organisational values

Improvement in these areas can help resolve some of the work issues that lead to workplace stress. For example, people are often happier to work long hours if they gain satisfaction or recognition for the job they have done.

However, for some people it is not possible to make significant changes in their work situation, but some strategies can be adopted to decrease job stress. These include:

  • Get enough rest - this will help prevent arriving at work tired. Learn some short relaxation and stress management techniques to do at work when the stress is building.

  • Don't take work home unless it is absolutely necessary. If this occurs, limit how often and stick to it.

  • Be realistic about job expectations and ensure a clear job description is provided.

  • Create a balance in life. Invest time in family and relationships, social activities and hobbies so that work does not become all-consuming and the only source of self-esteem.

  • Take breaks throughout the day. Get up an move around. Sitting down for too long has adverse effects on our health, and getting away for your desk, even momentarily, can help your stress levels.

What to do if it doesn't get better

In cases of extreme work stress, physical and emotional symptoms such as insomnia, lethargy, loss of appetite, tension, anxiety and depression may make it difficult for the person to continue to work effectively. The effects of stress can lead to poor mental health and feeling overwhelmed.

Also, work issues that are causing stress are sometimes difficult to resolve and may need to be addressed through mediation and assistance from trained professionals.

Your doctor may be able to help you through this time or refer you to see a psychologist.

If you'd like to make an appointment at The Clinic, please call us on 9741 1200 or book an appointment online.


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