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What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Workplace Stress?

Many factors in the work environment may contribute to an individual’s level of stress. Stress is a problem that affects more than employee productivity and retention.

Workers who routinely and increasingly experience stress on the job may begin to exhibit health, interpersonal and behavioral problems that can cause lasting harm.

Symptoms of Workplace Stress


Physical Health

Whether short-term or chronic, workplace stress can lessen an individual’s ability to function. Early health problems that may arise from stress include headaches, indigestion, insomnia and fatigue.

Long-term stress can have more serious consequences as your body becomes exhausted from a constant state of activation and tension. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests job stress may be a precipitating factor for chronic cardiovascular diseases and musculoskeletal disorders.

An NIOSH report indicates that job stress is related more closely to health complaints than family or financial troubles are.


Mental Health

Job stress can also harm your mental health and cause or exacerbate psychological problems. Stressed individuals may find it difficult to concentrate on tasks and exhibit a short attention span.

Depression and burnout may become a problem for workers who remain stressed for longer periods of time. Workplace stress may show itself as job dissatisfaction and low morale in early stages and progress to worse problems as you remainsin the stressful circumstances. Constant stress may lead you to have emotional symptoms such as irritability, sadness, anger and anxiety.


Interpersonal Relationships

People who are stressed may find it difficult to leave their troubles at work. As a result, you might begin to have relationship problems with close friends or family members who may not know how to handle your emotions or actions.

You might also find it hard to build or maintain positive relationships at work. The stressed worker may begin to withdraw from social situations, neglect responsibilities, be quick to anger and exhibit poor job performance.


Behavioral Problems

A stressed worker may have emotional symptoms such as anger or frustration and may indulge in verbal or physical abuse. Violence is a very noticeable and dangerous sign of workplace stress.

Stressed workers who don’t give way to violence but instead choose to withdraw socially may start being absent from work too often. The American Institute of Stress estimates that a million workers are absent every day due to stress.


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