There are many different factors which contribute to stress in the workplace. These range from excessive workloads to that dodgy coffee machine in the break room. A survey of workers conducted by YouGov has revealed that across the UK a whopping 64% of us are stressed at work with pay and work hours identified as big sources of anxiety. General office life is also a bug bear for some; the three biggest annoyances among co-workers are regular lateness, gossiping and loud talking.
How to address stress in the workplace
Take a break!
The extent to which some people work is a cause for concern. Many people work over their contracted hours; 82% did so in the last 12 months of their contracts. What is more worrying is that a lot of people are not taking breaks when they should be; for instance, many workers are eating lunch whilst working instead of stepping out of the office to eat and relax. Around half the people interviewed said that they ate lunch at their desks. Even more said that they don’t take breaks other than lunch during the day. It’s no wonder so many of us are feeling the strain.
Ill at work
95% of bosses said that they thought the health of their workforce was an important factor in the success of their business. Consider that when we tell you that 59% of people turned up to work despite feeling ill, with 90% having gone in to the office when not feeling their best. There has to be something which makes us feel obliged to come to work when we are ill. Unfortunately, this can only be a negative for stress levels. It has been suggested that this 'presenteeism' is caused due to fears over job security. The CIPD report that 13% of people surveyed gave the reason for coming to work ill as ‘I feel too threatened by the risk of redundancy to take time off when ill’.
The pressure to show up for work when feeling ill may see work completed in the short term, but further down the line could lead to burnout or an increase in stress. It also poses the risk of spreading the illness around the workplace. Management recognise the importance of a healthy workforce, according to the figures at least. So, perhaps more should be done to improve staff stress levels to ensure that the best quality work is produced.
Related article: Signs of work-related stress in employees
Address the stress
There are some great stress-reducing tips here on Forbes to help alleviate some of the more troubling aspects of working life. Why not add a personal touch to your desk and keep your workspace tidy to give you an extra feeling of control? Take regular breaks, do small exercises or relaxation techniques and make sure you discuss any concerns you may have with your co-workers. You could see a difference in your work life and your mental health!
Written by Fiona Sanderson
Fiona is Marketing Manager at myhrtoolkit. Her areas of expertise include HR systems, productivity, employment law updates, and creating HR infographics.