The Causes of Stress at Work: The Relationship Between Mental Health and Work

The Causes of Stress at Work: The Relationship Between Mental Health and Work

Stress can become an aspect of anyone’s life but the causes of stress can be different for every person. The most common cause of stress is work, as many people can have a love/hate relationship with their workplace. There are many reasons why work can cause stress whether that be the environment is overcrowded and makes you feel anxious and claustrophobic, your work colleagues aren’t easy to get on with and can cause unnecessary drama, or it can be purely down to bad management as managers should prevent any of the issues just mentioned from happening.

Stress within the workplace is a mental health issue which can lead to anxiety or depression. Employees suffering from any type of mental health condition could end up being absent more from work and work performance can suffer. Therefore any employee suffering from stress, depression, anxiety or any other mental health issue related to work needs to be given the right help that they need. Here is a list of causes of stress at work and the relationship between them and mental health.


Overworking employees can trigger stress-related illnesses. Giving employees too much work and deadlines that are impossible to meet will increase their stress levels as they will try and keep up with your demands and get as much work done as possible. This could result in them working through their lunch breaks and working overtime to complete the work given to them. This is unhealthy for any employee as it could engulf an employee’s life and lead to lack of sleep,low energy and anxiety over not finishing work.

Not giving an employee enough work can also result in anxiety and stress. An employee may feel like they are not good enough for their job role and they  aren’t being given much work as their employer doesn’t trust them with lots of responsibilities. Even though this may not be the case, many employees will feel anxious within work and wonder about their job security. This could again lead to lack of sleep and unhealthy levels of stress over your job.

The best way to ensure your employees don’t suffer stress related illnesses from overworking (or underworking), make sure you  communicate with employees regularly to monitor their work schedules so you can adjust them accordingly..

Conflicts With Coworkers

Some workplaces are lucky enough that all of their employees get on well. However, it is not all like that for some businesses. Not everyone is the same and personalities can clash causing stress to fluctuate within the workplace. If occurrences like this happen, employees involved may feel stressed and anxious about coming to work, therefore absences may increase due to not wanting to deal with their coworkers.

As a manager dealing with employees who possibly have a short temper can be difficult, however you need to take action before they start to affect other employees. You need to be fair and if there is one employee who always seems to be at the centre of any conflict, then something has to be done. Employees will appreciate you taking an action to protect their wellbeing at work.

Job Security

Another well known cause of stress within the workplace is the lack of job security. Again like I said previously this could be down to not having enough work set for you. There are many reasons why employees may feel like their job isn’t safe, this could lead to sleepless nights, stress and anxiety about what to do if they lose their job.

To reduce employees’ anxiety about their job security, communicate clearly and honestly with them by letting them know the state of the organisation and their performance within the workplace. This will reassure employees that their job is safe and it will also let them know where they could improve and reasons why they may not be getting a big workload.

Bad Management

Being a bad manager can cause a lot of employees stress. As a manager you are in control of their workload, job role, job security, etc. A bad manager could be intimidating, shifts moods frequently, is unsupportive of their employees needs. All of these traits will cause stress for employees, leaving them feeling uncomfortable at work. Having bad relationships with your employees will result in more absent days and less enthusiasm to get work done. If a manager does not put the effort in with their employees, the employees will not put the effort into their workload.

As a manager, having good relationships with employees is key to a successful business and happy workforce. Being an approachable manager will help you build trusted relationships with employees, meaning that they will come to you with any issues they have within the office or in their lives, such as suffering from stress.

Office Surroundings

Working within an office all day which is untidy, dark and fitted with uncomfortable furniture can also contribute to stress. Staff members will feel stressed if they have to spend the majority of their day sat in a run down office. Employees will also feel like their employer doesn’t care if they are allowing their staff members to work in run down facilities.

An office refurbishment shows that as an employer you care about your employees’ wellbeing and want them to work within surroundings they are proud of. An office can influence employees’ moods, thoughts and feelings, working within a space that is open and full of natural lighting will make employees feel fresh, motivated and energised.

Mental health within the workplace has moved up the agenda for employers, especially since  stress is a major contributor to other mental health conditions. As a manager, it is your job to ensure the wellbeing of your staff is high and stress levels are down to a minimum. You can do this by ensuring that employees’ work environment is up-to-scratch, that you are an open and honest manager who cares about the mental wellbeing of your staff members, you support them if they are stressed about anything inside or outside the workplace and overall you understand the aspects of mental health within the workplace.

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