10 signs that stress is a problem in your workplace » SMEInsider

10 signs that stress is a problem in your workplace

Don’t be complacent about workplace stress; its effects can be far-reaching and detrimental to employees’ physical and mental health as well as your business.

Workplace stress is usually caused by reaction to excess pressure, but other triggers can include bullying, feeling inadequate and a lack of control. Stress itself isn’t an illness, but it can lead to emotional and physical ill health. As an employer, you need to keep your eye out for key signs so you can address and manage issues before they deteriorate any further.

Physical symptoms

Stress manifests itself in a long list of physical symptoms, including increased heart rate, sweaty palms, muscle tension or aches and pains, sleep disturbance, fatigue, vomiting, skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, headaches, nausea or dizziness, and sudden weight loss or gain.


It’s not uncommon for stressed employees to become snappy and have overly emotional reactions, including becoming more tearful or aggressive.

Disputes and disagreements 

Stress can lead to strained working relationships. Have you noticed more arguments within the workplace?

Poor judgement 

Stress can have an impact on people’s mental capacity. You may notice your employee is becoming more reckless in their decision making or is struggling to make any decision, big or small.

Poor quality of work 

Have your employees become less productive? Are they missing deadlines?

Poor time management 

Look out for signs of bad time keeping, working late or not taking a lunch break.

Increased absenteeism 

Forty per cent of all work-related illnesses are also stress-related.

High staff turnover

If stress isn’t tackled in the workplace, it can spiral to a point where employees leave. 47 per cent of employees know a colleague who quit work due to stress.

An increase in complaints 

When stress affects your employees, it affects your business and as a consequence, there may be an increase in complaints from customers or other colleagues.

More accident prone

A stressed mind can make people more susceptible to accidents and they can often be restless, hyperactive and distracted.

Looking out for the first signs of stress can reduce the likelihood of an employee developing more severe anxiety or depression or long-term health problems, such as a heart condition. Implementing stress management policies can help tackle stress at source and encourage employees to seek help if they are feeling under pressure. Occasionally an individual may need to seek medical advice or cognitive behaviour therapy, available through a workplace health insurance policy.

Speak to our small business team to find out more.