Most employees feel some level of stress related to their job and struggle to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Stress can affect job performance, retention levels and even employees’ health. While every situation is different, there are some common causes of workplace stress that affect employees in almost every industry.

Work Overload

Employees who feel that they are given an inappropriate or unbalanced workload often feel stress from their inability to control their productivity. You can perform regular reviews of workload and job responsibilities to support your employees and alleviate the stress.

Long Hours

Nonexempt employees must be paid overtime, according to the Department of Labor. However, exempt employees may end up putting in extra hours without compensation, leading to resentment. Keep an eye on who is putting in long hours to identify employees who may need additional support or training to bring their work hours under control.

Lack of Support

When employees feel stress, they need an outlet to express their frustrations and concerns. Schedule regular meetings with your workforce to listen to concerns. This will help your employees feel that they are participating in the process. There will be times when issues cannot be resolved, but fostering a culture of trust can help to reduce anger and resentment.

Office Morale

When employees feel stressed, there may be a tendency for them to complain and behave negatively. This type of behavior can permeate the atmosphere in a workplace and make it difficult for other employees. Working in a place where there are many unhappy employees makes it hard to escape the negativity.

Management should be listening carefully to employees to make sure that office morale is at a comfortable level. You should have clear corporate policies concerning employee behavior that support an atmosphere of respect and dignity.

Uncomfortable Working Conditions

If work stations are uncomfortable or the surrounding noise level prevents concentration, stress can happen. Evaluate furniture, implement ergonomic solutions and reduce noise levels to alleviate this problem. Put guidelines in place concerning voice levels in the office to make sure that volume does not get out of hand. Some offices may consider having a quiet room where employees can have a place to relax without being surrounded by cellphones and people who are continually chatting.

Drab Work Environment

Office decor can have a strong influence on stress levels. Office space should be clean, light and reasonably up to date.


For many employees, getting to work can involve a long drive, traffic snarls or crowded bus and train rides. If possible, allow employees more flexibility for arrival and departure times to alleviate this issue.

Knowing that the workplace is causing stress among employees can be a matter of considerable concern for you, the employer. The success of a business depends on a happy, productive workforce. Employees create and support the company image, and customers can be sensitive to how the company is portrayed by its employees. Take measures to reduce workplace stress and support work-life balance, and you and your employees will both benefit.

Mary Parsons is retired from a 30-year career in the insurance industry. She worked in the claims department of a major insurance carrier as a claims adjuster, manager and a member of a catastrophe team. Since her retirement, she has developed a career as a freelance writer. As an insurance professional, she has been a contributor to several insurance websites.