We all feel a bit stressed from time-to-time. Whether you’re fed up with being sardined into place on the train during your morning commute or get annoyed with your computer, working can be stressful.
However, when stress really festers and starts to get too much, it can make your working life borderline-unbearable. We show you how to stop yourself reaching that point…
Don’t get us wrong, stress can be a positive thing. If you have a big project on and your workplace is buzzing, it can help you to be more creative and efficient. And we’d all be bored without a bit of pressure. However, it’s when things get too intense to deal with that we run into problems.
ACAS often advises people with stressful workplace situations, and they split stress into several different causes:
If you feel you have become overloaded and you can’t cope with the amount of work or the type of work you have to do then this can lead to stress. You can stop it from getting too intense by speaking with your boss or the HR department and asking for training to help you do your tasks, ask for flexi-time to relieve the strain or look at whether the work would be better suited to a project-share.
By facing the problem and talking about it openly – without coming across as too moany – then you can really deal with the stress before it takes hold.
Sometimes we all lose control. But if you feel that you have no say over your work and how you carry it out, it can lead to stress. If this sounds like you, discuss it with your boss, show your initiative where possible and ask for performance reviews to monitor your progress. Most employers don't want to deal with the day-to-day issues of how work gets done, they just want to see results.
Do you feel alone at work? Do you not have anyone you can talk to? This can lead to workplace stress similar to a bullied kid in the playground – and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. If you can, find someone you can confide in – whether it’s a colleague, someone in HR or find the courage to tell your boss. It’s their job to ensure you’re supported and they must make arrangements to ensure your voice is heard.
Similar to above, sometimes working relationships break down between colleagues or departments within a business and this can cause a great deal of stress, as nobody likes arguing.
If you’re being bullied then you have to report it to your manager or HR department, or discuss the issue with ACAS. If it’s just a case of finding a middle ground, ask to talk to the person/people face-to-face and find a resolution. They may even be feeling the same way as you.
If you don’t know what your role entails and your workload varies wildly from one day to the next, your uncertainties can cause a lot of worry and stress. Your employer should have given you a job description and your role should follow it closely.
Although we are all expected to do what is necessary to make the business thrive, your job shouldn’t involve things far beyond your experience and knowledge – that’s unfairly placing stress on your shoulders. If this is the case, speak with your manager for the reasons why they’re doing this (they may be valid) and if there’s an end in sight.
Does my employer have to deal with my stress?
In a word: yes. An employer has duties under health and safety law to assess and take measures to control risks from work-related stress. Also, if you lose your job because you are stressed then you can take them to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal if you’ve shown that you acted reasonably.
What if talking to my boss doesn't work?
If you’ve discussed your issue with your boss or HR department and nothing has been done to combat your stress then you can contact ACAS for free advice.