Causes of Stress in the Workplace

November 22, 2021

According to a recent survey by wellbeing experts, Headspace, 54% of employees reported feeling “stressed” or “extremely stressed” at work.

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, the team at Headspace for Work surveyed thousands of employees to understand their mental wellbeing. The results revealed that many employers did make an effort to support the mental health of their employees but were unprepared, or ill-equipped, to do so. However, the latest survey shows that companies now seem to be scaling back even though people are still experiencing high levels of stress.

Employers must understand the signs of stress in the early stages, as long-term stress can eventually lead to burnout.

Leading health and wellbeing provider, Health Assured, reviewed their data from the last three months to determine the top 5 workplace stresses faced by employees during 2021.

Table of Contents

1) Job Role

Health Assured found the leading cause of stress to be an employee’s role or, more accurately, a lack of understanding about the expectations pertaining to it. Employees cited a lack of objectives and career opportunities, resulting in feelings of inadequacy.

2) Role Demands

Many employees spoke of not having enough hours in the day and struggling to cope with their workload, leading to feelings of being overwhelmed and increased levels of in absenteeism.

3) Working relationships

Stress resulting from conflict, bullying, or feeling victimised within the workplace was the third most significant cause of stress. Conflict can also create a generally toxic working environment for other employees too.

4) Lack of Support

Many employees quoted a lack of support in the workplace as the next most prominent cause of stress. This included a lack of guidance from line managers and a general lack of support for their general wellbeing. This perceived lack of support lead to feelings of neglect and frustration.

5) Change

Change always brings with it some uncertainty. For example, change in the workplace could relate to redundancies, a shift in company policies, or restructuring. Change can be a significant trigger for stress, making it hard for employees to engage or feel motivated.

In August, we discussed why employee wellbeing is vital in the workplace and how integrating it into your performance management programme can improve company culture.

Based on the findings from Headspace and Health Assured, it is important that businesses do not become be complacent when it comes to the wellbeing of their employees. Exercise and a healthy lifestyle are both beneficial in combatting work-related stress. Employee wellness schemes are a great way to encourage both. In addition, offering an employee assistance programme can help employees deal with issues outside of the workplace that might otherwise affect their workplace performance.

Vero HR offers expert employee wellbeing services in order to help you maintain a safe working environment. Please do not hesitate to give us a call on 01733 830830 or email us at


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