We are told that work related stress has reached epidemic proportions. So why are our workplaces increasingly full of people suffering with stress? And what can organisations do about it?

By stress I’m referring to the physical sensations and feelings people experience when they’re afraid to some degree.



Why do so many people feel afraid?

Because they perceive that someone or something in the work environment is putting one or more of their physical and/or Emotional Needs  under threat. They also perceive that they’re unable to deal with those threats.

Situations that we perceive as threats are commonly referred to as ‘stressors’. The source of our stressors could be the workplace; or outside the workplace; or our imagination.

For many of us there are times when our stressors become too frequent, or too intense to deal with. At those times our stress (fight or flight) response is activated repeatedly, or its activation persists over time, without recovery periods. This leads to us to experience chronic stress.

Chronic Stress

The physiological effect of chronic stress is cumulative wear and tear on our body and it can leave us feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope. When we’re experiencing chronic stress, we experience it 24/7. It’s not something we can leave at home, or at work, when we depart for the day.


Perception is fundamental to our identification of stressors. Each of us creates our own version of reality based on our unique interpretation of the data we've received from the environment. So a situation that one person perceives as a threat, another person may perceive as a challenge.

This means there are no universal stressors i.e no list of situations that everyone in the world will always experience stress in response to.

This fact presents a challenge for any organisation that has set itself the goal of reducing work related stress, because a ‘one size fits all’ approach to removing stressors from the work environment may ultimately prove ineffective.

Common work-related stressors

While there are no universal stressors, a large number of studies have identified a range of situations which the majority of the workforce commonly perceive as stressors. A typical list looks like this:

  • Job insecurity
  • Inadequate physical work environment
  • Changes within the organisation
  • Changes to duties
  • Harassment
  • Crisis incidents, such as an armed hold-up or workplace death.
  • Bad management practices
  • Role conflict
  • Lack of support
  • Poor relationships with colleagues or bosses
  • Lack of autonomy
  • Job content and demands
  • Long hours
  • Heavy workload
  • Tight/unrealistic deadline
  • Lack of proper resources/equipment
  • Boring work
  • Insufficient skills for the job
  • Few promotional opportunities
  • Over-supervision
  • Discrimination

Mapping common work-related stressors against our Emotional Needs

I mentioned earlier that people experience stress because they are afraid, and they are afraid because they perceive that one or more of their physical and/or emotional needs is under threat. So let’s take a look at how these common work-related stressors map against our Emotional Needs:














A win/win for employees and employers

By removing and/or reducing common work-related stressors from the work environment an organisation can help a large number of individuals reduce their personal stress levels.

The cumulative benefit for an organisation, as a result of taking action to help each individual employee reduce their stress level, can be significant in terms of:

Reduced: sick leave usage; absenteeism, staff turnover; cost

Increased: profitability, efficiency, productivity; work engagement; reputation as a ‘good’ employer

What Next?

Helping people to regain control over their stress and anxiety is my passion. If you'd like to explore how I can help you, or your employees, regain control over your/their stress let's have a chat. You can contact me now on 021 056 8389 or email me at tony@tycoaching.nz or use the Book Now button.

Wishing you a happy, calm and productive week in your workplace.
Go well

REMEMBER - "When you change your mind you change your life."


Tony helps individuals to harness the power of their mind to achieve success and well-being in life, work and business. Tony's particular area of expertise lies in helping people to 'change their minds' so they gain freedom from worry, anxiety and stress, overcome limiting beliefs and unhelpful habits. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of solution focused coaching, neuroscience, positive psychology and clinical hypnosis.