The negative consequences of work-related stress for both businesses and the individual employee in 2019

The negative consequences of work-related stress for both businesses and the individual employee in 2019

‘Work-related stress is defined as a harmful reaction that people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work’ Health & Safety Executive, 2019.

In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive (H.S.E.) reports the latest estimated number of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2018/19 was 602,000 and the total number of working days lost due to this condition was 12.8 million days. This equated to an average of 21.2 days lost per person.

Similarly, stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of all work- related ill health cases and 54% of all working days lost due to ill health.

For the more detailed report go to

What are the causes of work-related stress?

The common causes of work-related stress in our current work climate include:

  • increased workloads with tight deadlines
  • low salaries but with more responsibility
  • working long hours
  • job insecurity
  • a lack of control over work activities
  • concerns over work performance of oneself and others
  • customer and client satisfaction levels
  • being given a job without having the experience or training to do it
  • lack of managerial support or over-management
  • organisational changes at work
  • office politics and conflict at work

What are some of the consequences of work-related stress in business?

The prolonged impact and consequences of work related stress in organisations can result in:

  • employees taking more sick days
  • lower staff performance and productivity
  • presenteeism with employees feeling disengaged
  • poor communication between management and employees
  • conflict and aggression amongst staff
  • lower levels of concentration causing accidents and errors to happen
  • staff retention and recruitment
  • potential litigation
  • financial implications of the above

How is work-related stress affecting the individual employee?

Work-related stress can have both mental and physical effects on the individual employee and each person will react differently to stress in the work environment depending on their personality and how they respond to stress.

So here are some of the common effects of work-related stress for the employee at work which include:

  • not coping with workload and feeling overwhelmed
  • difficulty in concentrating on work and remembering things
  • lack of motivation or commitment to work
  • feeling anxious or depressed
  • lower sense of competence and confidence in work and affecting performance
  • have trouble sleeping, feeling tired and getting regular colds
  • aches and tension in the body and headaches
  • comfort eating and increase caffeine intake
  • social withdrawal and affecting relationships at work
  • feeling irritated or having a short temper with others

For the above reasons it is clear that the current 2019 work environment with its high levels of pressures and demands is causing an increase in work-related stress and is having negative consequences on both the individual employee and the organisations.

Therefore, moving forward, what is needed is for companies to address work-related stress and have measures in place to help their employees manage and reduce stress levels and improve their physical and mental well-being. This will not only benefit their employees but the future of their business.