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Work-related issues

What is work-related stress?

Work-related stress is a feeling you may experience when you have demands at work that you feel you cannot keep up with. It may worsen existing mental health conditions or lead to the development of one if it goes on for a long period of time without being dealt with effectively.

According to Bupa (no date), over 11 million working days are lost every year due to work-related stress. Nearly half a million people in the UK have work-related stress at a level that makes them feel ill.

Causes of work-related stress

An illustration of a person sitting on the floor and working on a laptop with a backdrop of a night sky through the windows behind them

Usually, work is a good thing for us as it gives life structure and most people gain satisfaction from working and meeting their goals. Pressure at work can be beneficial if it helps you to perform better and helps to motivate you through challenging times. However, if the pressure lasts too long at a high level, combined with increasing demands, you may start experiencing work-related stress.

Examples of causes of work-related stress include:

  • an excessive workload or unrealistic deadlines
  • regularly being under pressure to meet targets or deadlines
  • difficult relationships with colleagues, or bullying at work
  • management style
  • a lack of control over the way you do your job
  • being unclear about your job role and what you’re meant to do
  • being in the wrong job for your skills, abilities and expectations

Sometimes, like with other causes of stress, there is no single cause of work-related stress.

Smaller things can build up over time or other external factors (not work-related) can influence your work-related stress, such as events going on in your personal life.

Symptoms of work-related stress

The symptoms of work-related stress are more or less the same as that of other causes of stress. However, there are also more specific symptoms that relate to you and your situation in the workplace:

(Bupa, no date)