Stress is one of the most common reasons cited by employees for sickness absence; this has consequences for both the individual and the employer.
Stress affects people differently and the causes of stress vary also. Stress in itself is not an illness, but if it is excessive and prolonged, it can lead to mental and physical ill health, anxiety and depression. Research links stress to heart disease, back pain, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances and alcohol and drug dependency. Recent research shows that this 'adverse reaction' can seriously undermine the quality of people's working lives and, in turn, the effectiveness of the workplace.
Stress is generally a term used to describe an unpleasant feeling of fatigue, being under too much pressure and being unable to cope. It has been defined as:
“A negative and unpleasant condition which may be experienced when a person perceives that they are unable to meet the demands and pressures that are placed upon them and which may be associated with a range of ill-health affects both physiological and psychological”.
The HSE defines stress as follows.
“The reaction people have to excessive demands or pressures, arising when people try to cope with tasks, responsibilities or other types of pressure connected with their jobs, but find difficulty, strain or worry in doing so.”
To read the whole document, please click here.