In the first blog in our three-part series on stress in the workplace, we focus on some of the factors that contribute to stress.

The UK workplace is changing, and according to research, 80 per cent of senior executives believe the workplace is more stressful now than it was five years ago. There are many factors that can contribute to employees feeling stressed and different people will be affected by stress in different ways. However, regardless of how stress manifests itself within the working environment, it can have a big impact on employees and productivity.

Work demands

One factor than can contribute to workplace stress is demands, or not being able to cope with the demands of a job. This could be triggered by multiple factors including inadequate staff training, a mismatch between staff skills and the demands of a role, or even unachievable demands or expectations being set upon an employee in relation to their role.


A greater reliance on mobile technology within the working environment has led to many employees working outside of office hours, for example, answering their emails during their personal time. This is leaving employees will little rest and an inability to switch off at the end of the working day, which can contribute to rising stress levels.

Role and responsibilities

Having little or no control over individual working practices within an organisation can lead to workplace stress. Having no autonomy over a role can leave staff feeling like their skills are not being utilised or developed and that they have no say about the way they do their work. A further cause could be triggered by a lack of understanding of a role and its responsibilities.


Receiving little or no support from colleagues, including exchanges of information, can be a source of stress within the workplace. It’s important to provide employees with regular and constructive feedback and ensure that they know what support is available should they need to access it.


Poor relationships and negative behaviour within the workplace can be one of the most distressing contributors to workplace stress and is something we will cover in greater depth in the second part of this miniseries. Being subject to bullying within the workplace can be very damaging to an individual’s mental health and in turn can do damage to the organisation.


Changes within the working environment are common, but poorly managed and communicated changes can negatively impact on the mental health of the employees working there. Factors triggering stress caused by change include a lack of timely information and reasoning, lack of opportunities for employees to influence change proposals, and a lack of support during any changes.

In the second instalment in our workplace stress series, we’re going to be looking at how negative relationships can contribute to workplace stress.


HR Review (2015) The workplace is more stressful than five years ago
HSE (2015) Work related stress - together we can tackle it


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