Consequences of work related stress and burnout

Negative work experiences can cause Stress, which in turn can significantly adversely impact a person’s work performance.

Work related issues are more strongly associated with health complaints than any other life factor.

Situations often associated with causing stress would include having an unsustainable workload, working with difficult people, frequent challenging deadlines, working under constant pressure.

Stress can produce symptoms that affect both the body and the mind. It can also affect behaviour and emotions.

Workforces with a high level of stress are likely to suffer from problems such as poor performance, low productivity, high absenteeism, lateness, high staff turnover and even strikes.

Even individual workers in a company suffering from stress can affect efficiency and effectiveness, lower morale and foster a negative culture. Other workers may become affected, and the general performance level in the organisation can suffer.

With burnout, staff may become less engaged, be more cynical, and be exhausted. This in turn will almost certainly lead to poor performance.

What are the symptoms of stress?

Sufferers may exhibit a range of conditions. They may suffer psychological disorders, which can include depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

They may also show other types of emotional strain such as lack of job satisfaction, fatigue, tension, or even aggressive behaviours, or substance abuse.

Job stress can also lead to compromised physical health, and even be associated with cardiovascular disease.

Causes of Work Stress

There are four categories of stressors implicated in job stress

  1. Task Demands – The sense of not knowing where a job will lead, whether the activities and tasks will change, lack of control, concern about career progress, and time pressures.
  2. Role Demands – conflict caused by inconsistent, ambiguous, or difficult expectations such as separate expectations or roles for one person, or personal conflict where their ethics are challenged
  3. Interpersonal Demands – emotional issues caused by abrasive personalities, offensive co-workers, sexual harassment, and poor leadership
  4. Physical Demands – such as strenuous activity, extreme working conditions, travel, exposure to hazardous materials.

Extracted from

Most managers will want to act to protect their staff for purely humanitarian reasons, but as you can clearly see, aside from any moral and ethical standpoint, it is in the interests of a company’s performance, and ultimately its bottom line profit, to protect its workforce from undue stress.

In today’s world of competing for talent, Boards and Human Resource departments do not want their company to be known as one who has little or no regard for the mental health of their staff, and who put them under significant stress

Most Boards and Management teams will see the sense of having strategies policies in place to ensure that workplace stress and burnout is not an issue at their organisation, and to deal with it at an early stage if it is detected.