stress at work

Stress at work: What are the signs and how can you reduce it?

Did you know workplace stress in Australia is an increasing issue? Are you aware workplace issues are one of the biggest causes of stress in Australia? If you’re feeling stressed at work, you’re not alone. While impossible to avoid entirely, workplace stress must be managed appropriately.

Many people will not be aware of the signs of workplace stress. It’s essential you are able to pick up if work is affecting your mindset and wellbeing, before the problem worsens. According to the Australian Psychological Association workplace stress can manifest itself through a variety of physical and behavioural symptoms.

Physical symptoms can include burnout, heightened emotions, mood swings, elevated heart rate, insomnia, fatigue and exhaustion and concentration or memory difficulties. Behavioural symptoms can include being frequently absent from work, reduced output, procrastination and performing below usual standard. It’s a good idea to watch out for these symptoms in yourself and colleagues.

Workplace stress affects not only employees but employers as well. According to Relationships Australia one in five Australian workers have taken time off work because they were feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy. Workplace stress costs Australia $10 billion a year in absenteeism, reduced output and mental health treatment.

So, what are the triggers of workplace stress? There are several factors that can increase workplace stress. Workplace stress could occur if what’s expected of you is more than you feel you can manage. Other causes include heavy workload, conflict in the workplace, responsibility confusion and poor physical conditions.

So, what can you do to reduce stress at work?

Tips to reduce workplace stress

HealthDirect and the Australian Psychological Association have several tips for reducing stress at work:

  • Make sure you take regular breaks
  • Make time for things you enjoy
  • Avoid working overtime if possible
  • Limit taking work home or answering work calls at home
  • Ensure you take regular holidays
  • Recognise unhelpful thoughts and attitudes
  • Develop a warning system for signs of stress
  • Identify physical and behavioural signs of stress and use this to disrupt behavioural patterns which exacerbate stress


Poor time management can increase stress at work.

Tips to improve time management and decrease stress

  • At the beginning of each day map out the day
  • Prioritise tasks according to importance
  • Say ‘No’ to responsibilities not necessary for work completion
  • Minimising distractions
  • Setting realistic timeframes for completing tasks
  • Delegate tasks where possible


Lifestyle Factors

Certain lifestyle factors can also increase workplace stress. You should try to:

  • Cut back on alcohol consumption
  • Have adequate sleep
  • Regularly exercise
  • Spend more time outdoors
  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet
  • Quit or reducing smoking
  • Breathing exercises or meditation


The support of others also plays an important role in reducing stress. A good idea is to seek social support from within and outside the workplace. Having a trusting relationship with a colleague at work is likely to reduce stress. You could pair up with a colleague and monitor each other’s stress levels.  If it is getting a bit too much, try talking to a colleague, friend or even a professional.

stress at work

Public Service Resumes help can take the stress out of applying for your next role.  We offer a resume and cover letter writing service.