Dealing with Stress at Work

Employees who feel stress at work often feel like there is no hope for things to get better. When there’s poor communication, lack of clarity, and all-around confusion at work, it can be hard for them to feel motivated to even show up day after day.

The good news is that business leaders can do something about stress at work.    

How to how to deal with stress at work & Fix 5 Major Causes

Signs of Work-Related Stress

  • Fatigue

  • Headaches

  • Rapid heart beat

  • Insomnia

  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation

  • Tension


  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Negativity

  • Overwhelmed

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Inability to make decisions


  • Anger

  • Little to no creativity

  • Performance slippage

  • Relationship problems

  • Isolation

  • Increased sick days

1. Unbalanced levels of control

It’s hard to be motivated by your job when you’re being bossed around. In fact, a micromanaging boss is a major reason many employees leave their jobs. It’s stifling and stressful to have someone watching over your every move. Micromanaging means there is no room for creativity and little opportunity for innovation.

And on the other hand, having tons of job control without context, resources, or direction of any kind is crazy making. When employees are in charge of a project or task but there are limited resources to get it done, that’s a problem. Along the same lines, having little support from the organization makes a job no fun either (see problem #3 below).


Everyone wants to find that perfect balance of work tasks that are and that are not in your control. And that’s tricky because that balance can be different for everyone.  The best way for managers to fix this issue is to get ongoing input from workers about how the workload is working for them. Some workers thrive under a more directed environment, while others need more freedom in order to give their best work. A great company will find ways for all kinds of workers to thrive.

That might mean moving employees from one manager to another or switching up project teams. Ultimately, matching projects with the people who are eager to do them is win-win.    

2. No prospects for job growth

Knowing you’re in a dead-end job is a sure path to dissatisfaction.

A study by the University of Cambridge shows being in a job that is unlikely to change over the next several years is a big contributor to stress at work. People crave novelty, so knowing you’ll be doing the same thing day-in and day-out for the rest of your life is maddening.

When there is little opportunity for promotion, professional education, or career advancement, work gets more than a little depressing.


No matter what field they’re in, organizations that embrace change and innovation will be better able to give employees a satisfying career experience.

People want to contribute to something meaningful, both for themselves and the world we live in. So companies that help their employees grow into new positions and job opportunities will thrive.

Related: How This One Hiring Decision Changes a Company’s Culture  

There are tons of ways to help employees thrive in the workplace:

  • Provide tuition assistance for professional development courses

  • Build pathways for employees to advance through the company

  • Encourage employees at all levels to apply for new positions within the company

When companies put work into their employees, their employees grow and become better at their jobs.    

3. Lack of managerial or peer support

Teams are important for a reason. Collaboration allows lots of ideas to develop; new perspectives emerge that can create those great a-ha moments. But when that’s lacking, work will suffer, and employees will get stressed.

When an employee is hitting roadblock after roadblock while doing something their company supposedly wants, resentment will build.


Nothing beats a good old fashioned offsite meeting to bring workers together and build camaraderie. Just make sure the activities are actually useful. It can’t hurt to hire a professional to get things going.

Companies need to shake things up once in a while to keep ideas fresh and employees motivated. Giving employees a bonus day off following a stressful project launch can do wonders to build morale and give everyone a renewed sense of focus when they return.

Related: Building Company Culture

4. Poor communication

When there is a lack of clarity in communication, employees (and managers) feel stress at work. On a legal level, having an HR person to talk to about sensitive financial information or harassment concerns is a must.

But from a day-to-day perspective, communication about projects, goals, and deadlines is needed to keep everyone on the same page. Regular poor communication is a big source of stress and conflict for employees, according to an article from Occupation and Environmental Medicine.


Aside from the quality of communication that happens, there’s something to be said for the approachability of workers and managers. A manager’s whose office door is always closed sends a message that you’d be interrupting them if you knocked. Even if that’s not the intention, it can be perceived that way.

Similarly, a worker who is always multitasking while talking to a coworker doesn’t allow people to really feel heard or understood. Encourage practicing complete focus by giving coworkers all your attention when speaking face-to-face.

There is such a thing as over-communicating, such that it’s impossible to get work done (the infamous «a meeting to discuss another meeting» trap). But most companies could err on the side of communicating to ensure everyone is on the same page.    

5. Hazardous work environment

Some jobs are naturally more dangerous than others, so it’s especially important to keep employees safe. But all jobs put workers at some level of risk. While commercial fishers may have especially treacherous work, office workers battle their own demons.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, long-term tension that turns into chronic health conditions, and the detriments of sitting all day all take their toll. In extreme cases, they take years off someone’s life.


On a basic level, keep your worker’s compensation plans up-to-date and ensure the company follows all OSHA regulations.

After the basics are covered, stay a step ahead of the game by taking some proactive steps:

  • Invest in ergonomic workstations

  • Keep workers nimble and injury-free with regular in-office massage

Nivati was created to help your team manage stress and prevent burnout. Enhance workforce mental health in one easy-to-use app. Call us today 1-800-556-2950  


By participating in/reading the service/website/blog/email series on this website, you acknowledge that this is a personal website/blog and is for informational purposes and should not be seen as mental health care advice. You should consult with a licensed professional before you rely on this website/blog’s information. All things written on this website should not be seen as therapy treatment and should not take the place of therapy or any other health care or mental health advice. Always seek the advice of a mental health care professional or physician. The content on this blog is not meant to and does not substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Amelia Wilcox

Amelia Wilcox

Amelia Wilcox is the Founder and CEO of Nivati, a leader in corporate massage and employee mental health support since 2010. Her high-growth B2B company provides employee stress management tools that arm businesses with actionable data and positive employee experiences to improve wellbeing, boost morale, and increase engagement. Amelia has exponentially grown her company from a solo living-room service business to an international technology brand.

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