Workload Stress: Is This an Issue for You?
What is workload stress?
There is a difference between stress and pressure. We all experience pressure on a daily basis, and need it to motivate us and enable us to perform at our best. It’s when we experience too much pressure without the opportunity to recover that we start to experience stress.
We can all feel stressed at times when we feel as though everything becomes too much, when things get on top of us, or when we feel as though we are unable to cope. It affects us in different ways at different times.
Workload stress is our mind and body’s reaction to a situation that is overwhelming. It can lead to burnout, anxiety depression and symptoms like high blood pressure, sleeplessness, stomach problems and back pain.
Risk factors: possible causes of workload stress
• the demands of your job
• your control over your work
• the support you receive from managers and colleagues
• your relationships at work
• your role in the organisation
• change and how it’s managed
Health impacts of workload stress
Stress can show itself in many different ways:
• Feeling negative or depressed
• Increased emotional reactions - more tearful or sensitive or aggressive
• Feeling isolated and lonely
• Loss of motivation
• Confusion, indecision
• Poor concentration and memory
• Changes in eating habits
• Increased smoking, drinking or drug taking ‘to cope’
• Mood swings affecting your behaviour
• Changes in sleep patterns
• Changes in attendance such as arriving later or taking more time off
Please note these are indicators of behaviour of those experiencing workload stress. They may also be indicative of other conditions. If you are concerned about impacts workload stress may be having on your health please seek advice from your Doctor.
What can you do about workload stress?
Workload stress can be tackled by working with your employer to identify issues at their source and agreeing on realistic and achievable ways to tackle them.
• Talk to your Manager
Your employer needs to gain a detailed understanding of what these risk factors look like where you work, identify which areas may be presenting problems, and work with employees and their representatives, to take action to reduce these problems.
• Raise your concerns with your SDA Delegate or Health and Safety Rep
• Put workload stress the agenda for your next workplace Health and Safety Committee meeting
• If you are concerned about your own health, seek advice from your Doctor
• Contact the SDA to get more information and support
Click here to download this information in a printer-friendly PDF format