Workplace stressors are classified as physical and psychosocial. Physical stressors include noise, poor lighting, poor office or work layout, and ergonomic factors, such as bad working postures.
Psychosocial stressors are, arguably, the most predominant stress factors. These include high job demands, inflexible working hours, poor job control, poor work design and structure, bullying, harassments, and job insecurity.
Workplace stress not only affects the worker, it also has adverse effects on company performance well. The effects of job-related strain are evident in workers’ physical health, mental health, and their behavior.
These effects occur in a continuum, beginning as distress in response to stressors. Distress, in turn, leads to elevated blood pressure and anxiety, which increase the risk of coronary heart disease, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders
The impact of stress on cardiovascular disease has been well established: Studies have shown that workplace stress is a strong risk factor for preludes to cardiovascular disease (obesity, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure) and of adverse cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke.
There is also a growing body of evidence that work-related stress increases one’s risk of diabetes. Other physical health problems linked to workplace stress include immune deficiency disorders, musculoskeletal disorders including chronic back pain, and gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Workplace stress also has adverse effects on workers’ mental health, with an increased risk of anxiety, burnout, depression, and substance use disorders. Workers who are stressed at work are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as cigarette smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, and poor dietary patterns.
With these attendant health effects, workplace stress reduces employee productivity, increases absenteeism and presenteeism, increases the number of days taken off work for doctor visits, and increases healthcare costs incurred by employers. Workplace stress is also linked to higher accident and injury rates and higher turnover rates, both of which increase administrative costs.