10 Sources of Stress at Work


Stress has many forms and many sources. Stress can be positive. Sometimes. But, as with too much of anything, too much stress is never a good thing.

Too much stress doesn’t happen over night. It’s a constant, continuous accumulation of factors. Some people seem to know better how to deal with them. They know how to switch off and “hit refresh”.

But, more and more people these days seem to have lost the awareness when it comes to what causes us to feel stress, and, as a consequence, they have lost de capacity to deal with stress in an effective manner (pause, reflect, relax, recharge, start again with a better perspective).

In this article, we take a closer look at what could be the most impactful sources of stress at work.

Feel free to write your top 10 sources of stress at work in the comments at the end of the page.


sources of stress at work


1. Heavy workload

If your work days are like a sprint, when you give everything for a short period of time and you can take a moment to relax afterwards, at the end of the day you’re happy and full of positive energy. You achieved something and you can even take a moment to admire the results of your work.

But if your work days look more like a marathon? When you keep grinding with no pause. And if we add to that the feeling of having worked the whole day without having done too much, the image is rather grim, right?


2. Failing to take enough time out and relax

See point 1. above. Are you a marathon runner or a sprinter? Can you effectively change your working style from working around the clock with no pauses to do highly focused work for shorter periods and take breaks in between?


3. Random interruptions

Being interrupted often causes not only a higher level of stress, but also a lower quality of our actual work. Deep, highly focused, high quality work is becoming rare these days.


Related reading: Before deciding to become an entrepreneur, because entrepreneurs are “less stressed” read about the sources of stress for entrepreneurs for inspiration.



4. Lack of control over the outcomes of your work

You poured all your heart in it, but there are so many factors that influence the process, that you can’t seem to have any impact on the final result. Frustrating and, of course, stressful.


5. Mistrust, unwritten office policies and politics, low team morale

You can’t see time going by when you work with an enthusiastic, high energy team. I will let you imagine the speed of time with the opposite type of team.


6. Juggling work and personal life

Heavy workload, little or no time for admin work and personal life, the nagging feeling of so many things left on the to-do list, end up by taking their toll.


Related reading: They say, stress is like garbage, it creates problems when it accumulates. You need to deal with stress on a daily basis, but also need to keep your energy levels high and your focus razor sharp. Being aware of what stresses you and some good relaxation (stress relief) techniques are a must.


7. Being unappreciated

How did you feel the last time you did a good job and nobody seemed to notice it? And the time before? And the time before?


8. Lack of two way communication, inconsistent review process

When was the last time you received constructive feed-back? Other than the annual review? (provided that could be considered constructive feed-back).


9. Career and job ambiguity

This is more a consequence of the previous two points above. But let’s think about it for a moment: how would you feel to have a pretty good idea about how your career will look like in, say 5 years (or even 1 year) from now? Relaxed, right?


10. Unclear company direction and policies

Same as above. Just at a bigger scale.





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