Factors Causing Workplace Stress And Its Remedies

Most of the companies worldwide are still operating remotely or following the hybrid work model. What started as an experiment amidst adversity is fast becoming a norm. However, employees, especially those working remotely, are reporting a rise in workplace stress levels due to the challenges of working in a completely new environment that they aren’t used to. A survey conducted by the American Psychology Association (APA) to study the impact of the pandemic on employees has provided surprising and exciting revelations. More than 1500 professionals participated in the survey and shared their experiences related to remote working and employers’ expectations, amongst other things.

Out of all the findings, one that appeared most surprising was the willingness of more than 40% of the participants to change their respective jobs. This figure is up by 7% from when the survey was last conducted in 2019. And what this revealed is that workplace stress is a major contributing factor for people looking out for a change in the time to come. People who experienced stress during the last one year or so have a significantly higher likelihood of changing jobs than those that have lots fewer complaints about their workplace environment.

But, organizations need to understand the reason behind this workplace stress that employees are talking about. According to the APA survey, many different things lead to this stress. Most of the respondents pointed towards three significant concerns. More than 55% of the respondents said that their stress is their low salaries. The next in line were those that pointed towards long work hours. And finally, the shortage of growth opportunities completed the top three reasons for workplace stress. What’s worrying is that the number of people who went with these factors when the survey was last done in 2019 has gone up. On the flip side, there are those employees who are happy with their salaries, work hours, and growth opportunities. The important thing here is that most of those sharing positive experiences are pointing towards a psychologically healthy workplace as the primary reason.

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Nearly 50% participants in the APA survey quoted lack of paid time off, travelling, and excess workload as the reasons for stress. Slightly less than 50% of participants had issues with unrealistic job expectations and no say in the decision-making process. More than 40% of respondents said that problems with their colleagues and managers are causing workplace stress. And 40% of people said that unhealthy and dangerous working conditions make them lose their peace of mind.

So, how do all these factors lead to a decline in productivity and performance? According to the APA survey, nearly 60% of the respondents found workplace stress to be the reason impacting their performance. More than 25% of them said that a lack of interest and motivation are caused by workplace stress. Another 21% said they have problems concentrating due to stress, while 19% of participants revealed that workplace stress does not allow them to put in the effort they usually do.

As is evident from these figures, some people cannot bear the stress and thus, are looking to quit. Looking at it from employers’ perspective, they have several advantages in helping their employees deal with workplace stress. Attrition rates have seen their highest ever rise in the last year. So, who are more likely to look for a change amidst these challenging times? People with a disability and those belonging to LGBTQ, Black, Hispanic, and other marginalized groups are the frontrunners when it comes to people who are desperately looking for a change.

And gender inequality still exists as more women than men are looking for a change due to workplace stress caused by low wages and limited flexibility. Women also are more likely than their counterparts because somehow, most of the caregiving burden of the family still lies on their shoulders. Organizations need to work out what better they can do regarding equity, diversity, and inclusion. This is the first and possibly the most significant thing that employers can do to help their employees deal with workplace stress.

Organizations also need to take necessary measures to help their employees find solutions to their mental health concerns. That’s what the APA survey revealed. Nearly 35% of the respondents said that flexible work hours could help them deal with stress. More than 32% of those surveyed believed that employers can do lots more to encourage them to look after their health, while another 30% said that they should be encouraged to make use of paid time off. Slightly less than one-third of the participants said that they should also be encouraged to take regular breaks during the day, which will help them beat workplace stress and stay focused.

Furthermore, many employees also feel that their employers should provide them with mental health resources. And some also believe recognizing their efforts and contribution can go a long way in building a stress-free work environment. It has also been found that psychologically healthiest workplaces are those where leading positions are occupied by either women or people of colour. And it is the responsibility of organizations to look after their employees after what they have experienced during and after the pandemic. The objective should be to build a healthy work environment for everyone, irrespective of their designation, race, colour, and gender.


  • Low Salaries, Long Hours and Low Growth Opportunities Are Major Causes of Workplace Stress | Toolbox | Karthik Kashyap | November 5, 2021
  • This is the No. 1 factor driving workplace stress | CNBC | Jennifer Liu | Oct 5, 2021

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