Is workplace stress harming your employees' health?

May 15, 2015

Most of us experience some level of stress at work, but ongoing or chronic stress can be damaging to our wellbeing - both physical and mental.

When it comes to stress, it can be hard to determine how much is too much, or what to do about it. At work, how much of the stress we experience is just 'part of the job', how much can we control, and how much is down to an unhealthy, potentially toxic working environment? Importantly, what can employers do to create workplaces that promote positive health outcomes? 

The most recent Stress and Wellbeing in Australia survey, produced annually by the Australian Psychological Society, revealed almost half (44 per cent) of working Australians rate issues in the workplace as a source of stress. 

Brisbane-based psychologist and workplace mentor Lindsay Spencer-Matthews, interviewed in The Age, highlights three common issues that can affect workers.    

  • Unrealistic expectations – "Occasional 'pedal to the metal' requests are OK but a boss who is constantly trying to make staff 'overperform' will see them burn out very quickly," he says.
  • Unclear roles – "It is really common for staff to be employed to one set of things and then find that they are being asked to do a whole range of other things. In the short term this can be a break from monotony but if the alternate duties are not what the employee enjoys it will bring stress into their lives."
  • Unfair treatment – This includes bullying, harassment, underpaying, and playing favourites.
  • Read the full article, which also features interviews with people who have experienced stress-related illness

Take action today 

Part of creating a mentally healthy workplace is taking steps to reduce issues or problems that cause stress. Check out our top 10 tips for small and medium/large businesses to help you get started, or create a tailored action plan using our interactive tool.

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