What is stress at work?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines stress as: “The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them.” Stress can make you ill, unproductive and, in the worst cases, leave you unable to work.

A certain amount of pressure is inevitable in any job, and it can keep people motivated. But it is vital you don't fall into the trap of blaming yourself for becoming stressed or failing to 'cope' with excessive work pressure. It is your employer’s responsibility to ensure your work is not organised in such a way that you are exposed to too much work pressure.

A workplace with a lot of stress may suffer from high absenteeism, higher risk of accidents, industrial relations problems, demotivation and high labour turnover. 

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.