How Stress In The Workplace Can Affect Mental Health

The mental health of your employees can be severely impacted by workplace-related stress. To ensure your team are working effectively, it is essential to have a firm grasp on the potential areas which may lead to stress for your workforce. It has been estimated that around 40% of work-related illness is due to work-related stress.

What do we mean when we talk about stress?

Stress is defined as ‘an adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’, and while it isn’t categorised as a mental illness, it can be a contributing factor for depression and anxiety.

Although stress and common mental health conditions can go hand in hand, it is essential to remember that the treatment for the two is very different. While mental health conditions are likely to be treated by a GP or health professional, workplace-related stress needs to be managed by the organisation. You can achieve this by changing and improving conditions in the workplace.

So what are the leading causes of work-related stress? The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) have identified that work stresses are grouped into six different areas.


Stress can be experienced when staff feel that they can’t cope with the type or the amount of work that they are expected to do.


If staff feel that they are not supported or valued by colleagues and managers, it will become harder for them to approach others if they need help.


If staff feel that their opinions aren’t valued or that they have no control over how or why they complete their tasks, they are more likely to underperform.


Change is a necessary part of a business but how it is managed is vital to reducing the stress felt by employees. Every effort should be made to ensure that staff are not made to feel vulnerable by changes.


If staff feel that they do not have positive relationships at work, there may be a breakdown in trust and communication.


It is essential that staff understand how their role fits into the broader structure of the company. Having a clear sense of what is expected will help to alleviate possible stress.

Ensuring that steps are taken to reduce work-related stress will be hugely beneficial to your company. There is likely to be a reduction in staff absences due to staff feeling happier and healthier at work. Your team will be more productive and will perform better.

It is also obviously essential to keep firmly in mind the legal obligation that you have in ensuring the health and welfare of your employees. There is a requirement to undertake risk assessments for work-related stresses and ensure that there are measures in place to protect staff from illness due to work-related stress. If stresses are found, it is vital that steps are taken to remove or reduce them to minimise their impact on staff members.

If you would like to discuss ways that you can reduce workplace stress in your business, we are here to help. Contact us to discuss the strategies and policies you can put in place to reduce workplace stress for your employees.

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