Harmful Effects of Work Stress on your Health
Work Wellness

Harmful Effects of Work Stress on your Health

|Apr 25, 2021

Stress can never be a good thing. Although some people may believe that a stressful situation pushes them to do more and better, living with stress is harmful in many ways. It affects a person's mental health, physical health, emotional wellbeing, social skills, ability to work, productivity, and efficiency.

There are several work stress effects and many harmful consequences of work stress that a person has to deal with if not treated efficiently. Many business organizations try to be supportive so that employees are better equipped to deal with stress, but not all of them succeed.

Working long hours affects the quality of human life and not having a proper work-life balance results in employees having stress. Which is why organizations are encouraged to implement the flexible working model in a workplace. But what are the major effects of stress in the workplace, and how can you avoid it?

What Are the Causes of Work Stress?

what are causes

Work stress is not related to a single cause, and almost 80% of Americans complain about being stressed about their work. While the reasons could vary, the stats are alarming, considering the adult population is affected by one of the most harmful diseases.

According to the American Institute of Stress, more than $200 billion is spent on healthcare-related work stress, and around 120 thousand people die because they cannot cope with stress at work. This disturbing rate of deaths due to work stress has led many practitioners and scientists to discover the root causes of stress and various mild symptoms a common employee ignores.

Impacts of Workplace Stress?

By understanding the work stress effects on the health of employees, a business can take several measures and precautions to ensure the ratio of illness due to work burden is controlled. The worst thing about work-related stress is that it is not taken seriously. An unpleasant work environment can turn a calm and collected person into an angry maniac. Thus a person becomes prone to stress, has an improper reaction to minor things, and a seriously decreased productivity.

While the mild work stress effects are often not that harmful but if not recognized and treated on time, they can turn into something as fatal as a nervous breakdown or a heart attack.


The mild symptoms (also the initial indicators) of having workplace stress include:

  • Constant headaches
  • Cold
  • Sickness
  • Anxiety going back to work
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Fatigue
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Indecisiveness

What Causes Workplace Stress?

what cause

Many reasons lead to workplace stress, and most of them are external. Stress also is one of long time hour work effects. A person may feel inadequate for the job if they are constantly overburdened and criticized for not being able to keep up.

If someone has social anxiety, then a meeting could trigger the stress in them. A negative workplace plays a vital role in stress. Even though competition is good in a workplace, too much competition and job threat could also lead to an increased risk of stress.

What are Work Stress Health Effects?

Work stress effects are not just generated automatically, nor does a person feel guilty without any reason. If an employee feels extremely stressed at work, chances are there are many external factors (even more than internal issues) that cause the stress. A common employee who would perform great may suddenly feel extra burdened and stress if subjected to one of such situations.

  • They feel out of control
  • They feel guilty about not able to manage several tasks
  • They have to give extra hours to complete work (frequently)
  • They are always criticized
  • They procrastinate to avoid mistakes
  • They have a hard time making a decision
  • Or they never find themselves good enough

These situations would result from a person who is constantly belittled and criticized for failing once or twice or maybe for not over-delivering more than their capability. Employers should have realistic expectations of the employees in the workplace, so the employees are not stressed. It is necessary for employers to help their employees to manage stress at work.

Physical Impacts of Stress


Physically a person who is dealing with a stressful condition may experience a sudden increase in their heartbeat, they may start to sweat profusely, and their blood pressure might shoot up. The body's responses to stress are increased heart rate, rapid breathing, thus an increased rate of respiration, increased redness as the blood flow increases, and rapid heart rate, which could lead to a stroke.

Mental Impacts of Stress


Mental work stress effects are more harmful because they are not easily diagnosed. A person who feels stressed may be thinking of suicide frequently, which is a dangerous situation to be in. They may also develop resentment, low self-esteem, headaches, throbbing pain in the chest, and shoulder ache.

The mental impacts of stress also include anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, stomach ache, inability to make a decision, nightmares, inability to sleep even after being tired, change in eating habits, and irritability.

Minimizing the Work Stress Side Effects

For physical stress and tension retained in your posture due to long hours of desk jobs, getting an ergonomic chair is the best solution for work stress effects. An ergonomic chair helps the human body adjust the posture to relax every muscle while keeping the maximum efficiency in practice.

Secondly, for people who have a hard time having a work-life balance or may have other duties to attend to, such as having a part time job, family responsibilities or completing a degree, then hybrid working is the most beneficial solution. Hybrid working allows the employee to work on flexible hours and even work remotely to meet their daily goals. It also ensures the trust and sense of understanding between an employee and the organization.

minimizing work stress

Similarly, an employee can refresh themselves and kill the stress with simple exercises and a few stretches here and there that don’t even need you to get up. Standing desk exercises are beneficial in increasing the blood flow and release the tensions held in muscles.

Lastly, employers should draft several measures to help employees deal with workplace stress, such as stress level tests, stress management training, and ensuring a positive workplace. Hence, everyone feels motivated and appreciated to do more.

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