6 causes of work related stress

Identifying the causes of stress can be an important first step to improving wellbeing. We look at six key factors that can contribute to work-related stress, and how you can manage them – for yourself and your school.

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Work-related stress is:

“a harmful reaction that people have as a result of undue pressures and demands placed on them at work.”* 

It has a major impact on mental health and is often beyond the control of the individual who is suffering. Work-related stress is unlikely to be due to one isolated factor as there are usually a variety of influences and pressures. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has identified six main factors that contribute to work-related stress:

1. Demands

What demands are placed on you? For example, do you have to manage large volumes of marking or attend regular after-school meetings? 

2. Control 

How much control do you have over your role? For example, do you have an input into your timetable, and can you control requests for data and how quickly you need to respond?  

3. Support 

How much support do you get? For example, are the senior leadership team supportive in managing classroom behaviour, and do you feel able to ask your colleagues if you need help? 

4. Relationships

How good are the relationships that you have at school? For example, do people share ideas and information, and are unacceptable behaviours such as bullying dealt with? 

5. Role

How do you see your role and responsibilities? For example, are expectations made clear to you, and do you have opportunities to discuss concerns or uncertainties?  

6. Change

Are you involved with changes that take place? For example, are you given information about policies and do you get the opportunity to influence decisions?  

How can you manage your own wellbeing?

Think about what causes you to feel stressed. There are some things that create stress specifically in schools. What can you do to reduce that stress? And what can be done within the school? If you’re looking for more information and guidance, our online training course Supporting Staff Wellbeing in Schools can help.

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Supporting Staff Wellbeing in Schools online training course 

Whether you want to focus on your own wellbeing or that of your colleagues, this course will help you to explore what positive staff wellbeing means in practice and how you can help to create if for yourself and your school, covering:

  • The meaning of wellbeing

  • Its impact on individuals and the workplace

  • Common mental health issues

  • The causes of work-related stress

It’s available in our safeguarding and duty of care training package, Tes Safeguarding, powered by EduCare.


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