Causes of Stress in the Workplace

Most employers and employees can agree on something: they are stressed out. According to a Willis Towers Watson survey, stress in the workplace is a concern for both health and productivity. The survey also found that employers and employees have different views on the causes of workplace stress.

According to employees, the number-one workplace stressor is inadequate staffing. This includes lack of support and uneven workloads. Employers also see this as an issue and ranked it as the number-two cause of stress.

The second leading cause of workplace stress is low pay, according to employees, followed by organizational culture that includes teamwork and accountability. While high on the employee list, these two potential stressors ranked lowest for employers.

Employers ranked lack of work/life balance as the leading cause of workplace stress while employees ranked it sixth. Employers also ranked ever-present technologies allowing employees to stay connected to work and organizational change high on the list. Employees agree with organizational change, ranked fifth, but not technology, which ranked lowest for them. Employees and employers also agree that unclear job expectations are a menace. This came in fourth for employees and sixth for employers.

Stress will always exist in the workplace. However, given the variation in views, it makes sense for employers to ask employees what stresses them and work with employees on solutions.

Source: WorldatWork,  July 6, 2016

Employer View Employee View
Lack of work-life balance (excessive workloads, long hours) 1 6
Inadequate staffing (lack of support, uneven workload, performance in group) 2 1
Technologies that expand availability during nonwork hours (e.g., mobiles, notebooks) 3 12
Excessive amount of organizational change 4 5
Concerns about personal financial situation 5 7
Unclear or conflicting job expectations 6 4
Concerns about job loss 7 11
Concerns about benefits reduction/loss 8 10
Lack of manager support 9 8
Low-control/high-demand jobs 10 9
Low pay 11 2
Company culture 12 3