Stress occurs when a person feels they cannot cope with their current demands and pressures. Stress comes from inside ourselves (e.g. wanting to succeed) and from external events (e.g. targets or deadlines).
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates the costs to society of work-related stress to be around £4 billion each year, while 10.8 million working days were lost to stress in 2010/2011.
The HSE suggest that stress at work can be caused by workload demands, control over the way you work, the support you receive, working relationships, your role in the organisation and how organisational change is managed.
Stress at work can result in poor work performance, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of drive, decreased confidence in abilities, difficulty maintaining healthy relationships with colleagues and feeling angry or tearful.
Employers have duties under the “Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations,” 1999, to assess the risk of stress-related ill health arising from work activities; and under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, to take measures to control that risk.