Skip navigation


Are your staff members stressed?

18 JuLY 2019

Stress is considered an essential part of work, but in fact it can be a serious issue. Stress adversely affects how people feel about the workplace and directly contributes to a decline in physical health. Cigna’s 2019 360° Wellbeing Survey found that 87% of workers around the world are stressed and 12% feel their stress is unmanageable.

Mental health issues can have a huge and wide-reaching impact on both your organisation and the lives of individuals that are affected. Stress can contribute to a wide-range of physical illnesses and can also lead to burnout, affecting staff members’ ability to contribute meaningfully in both their personal and professional lives.

Workplace stress not only effects the individual, it can have a serious impact on all employees. 91% of the people interviewed in Cigna’s 2019 360° Wellbeing Survey believed colleagues’ stress negatively impacts the workplace with issues such as a depressing atmosphere and low morale.

Burnout was officially classified as an occupational phenomenon that influences a person's health by the World Health Organisation in May 2019. They define burnout as a syndrome that results from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. They explain that it’s characterised by three dimensions1:

  1. feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  2. increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and
  3. reduced professional efficacy.

This is a clear sign burnout is not to be taken lightly. The best way to prevent burnout among your staff members is to make sure stress levels are reasonable and your people receive the support they need to manage their stress in a healthy way. When staff members start showing signs of stress, take notice and take action.

Signs your staff members may be stressed

Everyone displays stress in a different way, but some common behaviours help identify stress. Look for these signs of job stress:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Problems concentrating
  • Short temper
  • Anxiety
  • Apathy
  • Mood swings
  • Restlessness
  • Job dissatisfaction and low morale

If a staff member shows these signs, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is on the way to a burnout. However, it does mean they could use some extra support. It’s essential organisations pay close attention to the health and wellbeing of their staff members and create an environment where people can discuss mental health issues and treatment.




1. World Health Organisation. Burn-out an "occupational phenomenon": International Classification of Diseases. Accessed 16th July 2019