Work-related stress is among the world’s biggest professional problems. From worrying about job security to coping with a new boss, beating tight deadlines, and dealing with job demands, workplace stress, if unmanaged, can have devastating consequences. As many as seven out of every ten Australian workers suffer high levels of stress in their workplaces, and the impact of this issue is costing Australia up to $39 billion each year.
We look at what is causing so many people stress in their jobs, how it affects their lives and productivity, and why work-related stress can often cause more damage than ‘regular’ stress. We’ll also explore why hypnotherapy is being employed to combat stress in the workplace and what you can do to manage your stress levels at your desk.
What is workplace stress?
Workplace stress is the stress people encounter that relates directly or indirectly to their jobs. It can range from general feelings of anxiety when arriving at the office or preparing for a virtual meeting to long-term trauma that can linger for years after leaving a job. Symptoms can include panic attacks, insomnia, and even health disorders triggered by work-related activities, thoughts, or events. Workplace stress is also known to cause anxiety outside of office hours and over weekends or during vacations.
Everyone, from interns and part-time workers to CEOs and business owners, is vulnerable to job stress. Work-related stress can manifest at any time, at any point in a career, and for myriad reasons. While this form of stress has been around for as long as professions have, the lingering effects of COVID-19 on the professional landscape, economic uncertainty, and changing workplace environments have amplified this type of stress to levels not seen for many years.
Causes of workplace stress
There are many different triggers, causes, and sources of workplace stress. Some of these are easy to spot and manage, but most issues are more complex and can take time and treatment to overcome. Here are a few of the workplace stressors most people face daily:
- Workloads – Increased workloads and restrictive deadlines are some of the most common causes of work-related stress. As jobs have become more complex and roles are consolidated, workers are feeling the pressure.
- Job and financial security – With the rise in AI, increasing digital tools usage, and many companies facing difficult economic environments, job and financial security is under threat. This trigger can be incredibly damaging for many people trying to cope at work.
- Work relationships – People are finding it harder and harder to connect with others at work, with social anxiety on the rise. Whether due to widening generational and cultural differences, increasing mistrust among colleagues, or heightened political sensitivities, developing and maintaining professional relationships can be a major stress source.
- Discrimination and bullying – This is a serious problem in many workplaces and is often the number one workplace stress factor for vulnerable groups. Discrimination in the workplace has devastating consequences for the well-being of workers and, if unchecked, can have long-lasting effects outside of the workplace.
- Control and support issues – Workforces in organizations with weak controls and low levels of support usually display higher stress levels among their employees.
- Workplace culture – Toxic environments or intolerant workplace cultures are guaranteed to generate high stress levels among workers. People are often afraid to speak up for fear of victimization, leaving these issues unchecked and driving up stress.
- Physical professional environment – From uncomfortable temperatures, a lack of ventilation, and low light levels to unsafe work locations, insufficient equipment, and overcrowding, where people work affects how stressed they are in their jobs. This is an often-overlooked workplace stressor.
Effects of stress in the workplace
Work-related stress can carry all of the typical stress-related impacts of everyday stress, plus additional negative effects. Eating disorders, anxiety, and general worrying are most often encountered by workers dealing with this stress, but workplace stress can cause other problems, too.
Issues at home
Workers feeling pressure at work can often bring negative feelings and emotional problems home with them. This can damage family bonds, alienate friends and trigger other issues that extend beyond the office or outside of working hours.
Workplace stress can severely diminish a person’s productivity. Low morale, distracted focus, and tardiness are just some of the effects that job stress can have. This is detrimental to work performance, only adding to stress levels at work and driving a damaging cycle.
Work-related stress can cause people to become disillusioned with their career path or to struggle in new job interviews. If they feel overstressed in a particular job, workers may assume that all other jobs in a specific industry or profession are the same, leading them to change careers or abandon their chosen profession altogether.
The body can only take so much, and anyone working long hours, not exercising, or not eating right because they’re trying to keep up at work will inevitably face health issues. Blood pressure problems, elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, and weight gain are just some of the health problems faced by stressed-out workers.
Workplace stress is not limited to the 40-odd hours people spend working each week. It carries over into their private time, permeating into many other parts of their lives. This can amplify the everyday stress people feel already and lead to even bigger, more serious wellness and mental health issues.
Workplace stress vs. Everyday stress
Workplace stress differs from ‘everyday’ or ‘regular’ stress in that it often manifests as a more intense form of stress that can have extended or deeper impacts on your life. People rely on their jobs to support themselves and their families financially. Without work, or when job security is threatened, people feel vulnerable and more anxious. The ‘regular’ anxiety and stress people are already facing is bad enough, with many struggling to deal with problems at home in addition to the issues they face in the workplace.
Many people struggle to tell the difference between workplace stress and the stress they deal with on a daily basis. This can lead to them confusing a type of stress that originates in their professional environment with issues that arise in day-to-day life. When this happens, people face difficulty confronting their stress correctly, taking preventative actions that don’t work for particular types of stress – like work-related anxiety – and leading them to give up trying to improve their stress levels.
This is why it is important to seek out the right treatments and tools that target and address specific job stress issues before dealing with more general problems.
How to fight workplace stress with the right treatment
The first step to addressing workplace stress is acknowledging that it exists and affects you. Many people see work-related stress as normal or something they should be able to handle. It isn’t, and many people can’t deal with it alone.
There are many useful methods and options available for people looking to deal with job stress. They can address their employers directly, practice meditation, eat better, and exercise daily. There are medical solutions and psychological options, too, but these can come with difficult side effects and often cost quite a lot of money.
Hypnotherapy and workplace stress
Hypnotherapy is an effective tool for fighting against workplace stress. It has been used as an effective treatment for professionals and workers for centuries. Hypnotherapy carries with it the advantage of allowing you to identify the specific issues causing stress, separate them from normal stress triggers, and address them directly.
Clients are able to enter a deep state of relaxation and, by working with their therapist, can confront the things causing them stress at work while improving their overall mental health and wellness. Therapists at Hypnotherapy clinics like Hypnocare are carefully trained and qualified to identify work-related stress from other forms of stress and work with their clients, overcoming these issues using techniques developed to help them heal and cope better.
Reach out to Hypnocare Hypnosis clinic and discover why Hypnotherapy for workplace stress is a growing solution for many professionals and workers looking to lead a more productive, stress-free professional life.