Lots of reasons. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has even compiled a list of them.
- How tasks are designed. Heavy workloads, infrequent rest breaks, long work hours and shift work, and hectic and routine tasks that have little inherent meaning, don’t utilize workers’ skills, and provide little sense of control are all stress provoking.
- Management style. If your workplace (or manager) eschews worker participation in decision making, micromanages, has poor communication, and lacks family-friendly policies, you’re working in a potentially toxic environment.
- Interpersonal relationships. Do you get support and help from coworkers and supervisors or do you feel like you work in a pit of vipers? If it’s the latter, consider your workplace stressfully sick.
- Work roles. If you have conflicting or uncertain job expectations, get too much
responsibility heaped upon your shoulders (particularly without the authority that should go along with it) or feel you are wearing too many hats, you’re working in a toxic waste dump when it comes to stress.
- Career concerns. Job insecurity and lack of opportunity for growth, advancement, or promotion; rapid changes for which you’re unprepared; and continued rumors of layoffs and belt tightening can all send you to the doctor with a stress-related illness.
- Environmental conditions. Unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions such as crowding, noise, air pollution, or ergonomic problems can turn even the most laid-back work environment into a stress pit.