The 9 Main Causes of Workplace Stress

“Stress is the health epidemic of the 21st century” – World Health Organization

Workplace stress is a growing problem that affects mental health and physical well-being of individuals and also hampers productivity. There is a real chance you are stressed at work, but are unable to read the signs or figure out the reasons. 

Causes of Workplace Stress

Here are 9 of the causes of workplace stress. They generally occur in conjunction with each other.

An increased/decreased caused workplace stress


A very common cause of workplace stress is the amount of workload you have. An imbalance of workload: whether too much or too little, can be one of the key reasons for your workplace stress. 

  • When you’re overloaded, it can lead to extra hours at work and might compromise on the time set aside for exercise or hobbies or sleep
  • Conversely, when you have too little work, there might be a sense of under utilization as well as a lack of satisfaction leading to workplace stress

Having the right amount of workload is important in order to keep workplace stress at bay.

Crunched timelines

When working on tight deadlines, you may end up putting in extra hours, causing stress.

We often find ourselves in situations where timelines are extremely crunched. While we want to give it our best shot, there is not enough time to do due diligence to it. This can lead to:

  • Negatively impacting the quality of work and lack of satisfaction
  • Increase in workload

Keep a lookout on how often you are dealing with crunched timelines. This helps in understanding whether it’s of the reasons causing workplace stress.

The 5 main causes of workplace stress

Lack of Communication

Another major workplace stressor is the lack of communication between employees. Every employee has their own priorities and motivations. As a result, we may forget to clearly communicate our expectations from each other. This happens specially when we are collaborating in teams and can impact team culture as well as employee engagement.

No structured feedback

All of us want to learn and grow in our life. One of the biggest inputs for our career growth comes from our managers who interact with us on a daily basis. In fact, it is one of the biggest responsibilities of a people’s manager to provide a structured and actionable road-map for their team’s growth. Therefore, when this gets deprioritised, employees can start to feel insecure about their performance. As a result, it leads to self-doubt. This can over-time lead to a major cause for workplace stress.

Incompatible managers

There is a very common saying “Employees don’t leave their jobs, they leave their bosses.” Managers, at times, can be mean, rude, unprofessional, micromanagers or unapproachable which can create stressful situations at the workplace. In fact, very few managers actually take out the time to understand their subordinates which can go a long way in building a relationship with them.

Insufficient Compensation

Monetary compensation can also be a key cause for stress. We might have different expectation of our salaries as we progress in our careers which might emanate from:

  • Our standard of living 
  • A comparison with our peers
  • Past performance and appraisals
  • Or the value we bring to the table in the organisation

The mismatch between our salary expectations and our remuneration could lead to workplace stress which could also manifest in lack of engagement at work.

Lack of autonomy

As an employee, you want certain headroom and autonomy at your job which can give you a higher sense of achievement. However workplaces where micromanagement is the norm, this lack of autonomy can cause stress.

Uncomfortable office environments

One of the most common stressors of the workplace is the physical work environment. The office setting may cause a lot of stress. Open offices can get extremely loud, small offices can get stuffy. Sometimes, the temperature within the office building can make it very uncomfortable to work. While trying to balance yourself against this, you may get stressed about work and your ability to function properly.

Personal problems

Your personal problems may be increasing workplace stress

Yes, it is true. Imagine if you‘re facing some problems at home or in your personal life are unable to balance your body and mind because of it. You will reach your workplace already stressed and the issues at work can overwhelm and overload you even further. Whenever a situation like this arises, it’s best to take care of your health first

There are many other reasons for stress at work, it differs from person to person. What’s important is to remember to take care of yourself and reduce stress at work whenever it gets too much.

Evolve has a diverse range of guided audios designed to help you reduce stress and balance yourself instantly. Now that you’re aware of the reasons for workplace stress, learn ways to overcome this stress and cope with it. The Evolve app is now live globally on Android & Apple, click here to try for free!