Business psychology company Robertson Cooper, has identified six key areas that have the potential to cause a high percentage of employees to experience stress.

KEY AREA DESCRIPTION
Resources and communication Employers should give employees the tools they need to do their job – for example, by providing adequate training and equipment. They should also keep them informed about relevant matters.
Control and autonomy Employers should not unnecessarily limit an individual’s freedom to do the job their way. They should involve employees in setting targets and objectives. They should where appropriate involve employees in the decision-making process.
Balanced workload Employers should ensure employees do not have too heavy a workload and that they take regular breaks. Most jobs are not designed with the employee’s stress level in mind. Expectations may be set too high and unrealistic with too much responsibility placed on one person.
Job security and change Changes in the workplace (restructures, transformations, downsizing and job outsourcing) create insecurity for many employees.
Work relationships Management styles are one of the greatest contributors to people experiencing stress.

Employees are looking for a leader who helps them to meet their emotional needs, someone who cares about them, who treats them with respect, someone who asks and respects opinions, keeps channels of communication open in all directions, gives quality feedback, recognises them and enables them to feel valued.

Another major contributor to people experiencing stress is the relationship people have with co-workers. Personality clashes, a lack of support, verbal abuse, harassment, intimidation, bullying; can contribute to people experiencing stress.

Job conditions Employers should give employees the best working conditions that they can, including salary and other benefits.

Environmental issues that can contribute to people experiencing stress include poor lighting, inadequate ventilation, temperature (too hot/too cold), noise, overcrowding, open plan offices, uncomfortable furniture, lack of protection from aggressive or violent clients.

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