The Effects of Work Stress on Employees

Job-related stress can affect employees both in and outside of work.
Job-related stress can affect employees both in and outside of work. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Work-related stress can have a profound impact on employees. It can make people less happy with their jobs and even cause depression outside of work. It can negatively affect motivation and productivity. And it can ultimately make employees leave jobs. Understanding the effects of workplace stress on employees is important for companies because at the end of the day, work stress impacts not only the employees individually, but also bottom lines.

Lowered Performance and Productivity

Employees who are under stress at work may be anxious and irritable and less likely to collaborate with others or pitch in and do extra work when needed. They may feel like they already give enough to the company. This can result in lowered performance or productivity, or both. Sometimes, tension headaches, stomach problems and fatigue caused by work stress is also the reason for lowered productivity and performance. Employees may want to do their best, but simply can’t because they feel ill as the result of being stressed out.

Problems Outside of Work

Employees who are under stress at work may bring that stress home with them. This can result in depression during non-working hours, and that can manifest itself as trouble sleeping, social withdrawal and loss of interest in family life. Some individuals may even turn to alcohol and drugs to help cope with their work-related stress. In the end, this could result in clinical depression requiring therapy and medication.

Job Hopping

Employees who are under severe work stress may ultimately decide that their jobs are simply not worth the stress. Such employees may look for other employment, even if the new jobs pay less or are not as well suited for their particular skills and expertise. Others may simply quit their jobs without having other employment lined up.

Possible Solutions

Companies that want to reduce workplace stress on their employees can pursue a variety of avenues. For instance, improving communication among coworkers and between workers and supervisors can help employees feel like they matter. Consulting employees when major decisions are being made can also make them feel like part of a team, as opposed to fungible parts in a large machine. A friendly social climate where employees are encouraged to interact can go a long way in increasing happiness levels among employees. Just as importantly, companies must offer workers reward and incentives to show that their work is appreciated.

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