top of page

Work-Related Stress Factors & Identifying System Issues at Work

Updated: Jul 30, 2022

Is your workplace an environment the fosters good mental health practices? We spend so much of our lives at work and the culture and environment we work within can have a significant impact on our wellbeing and mental health.

Work Safe have done significant research into Australian workplaces and with a team of organisational psychologists they have come up with 11 work related factors that can positively or negatively impact mental health and wellbeing at work.

Work-related stress factors are aspects of work that can be hazardous to your mental health and wellbeing. It's important if you notice any of these having a negative impact on you that you discuss it with your manager or lead and it is addressed through good leadership.

The 11 Work-Related Stress Factors

High or Low Job Demands

Job demands relate to the physical, mental and emotional effort required to do the job.

Low Level Job Control

Low job control is when an employee has little control over aspects of their work, including how and when a job is done.. It is also when decisions that affect an employee are made without telling the employee or asking for their opinion.

Poor Support

When employees don't get the support they need from leaders and colleagues, it can harm their health and wellbeing. Support can be both emotional and practical.

Poorly Managed Organisational Change

Change is unavoidable, and often a good thing: it’s how businesses grow and adapt. But when organisational change (large or small) is poorly managed or not communicated to employees well, it can cause stress and anxiety. Change can include people’s job descriptions changing, downsizing, relocating, and introducing new technology or production processes.

Poor Organisational Justice

Poor organisational justice is when people are not treated fairly, or there is inconsistency or bias in the workplace. It’s important to be open about how decisions are made – if employees can’t see what’s happening, they can’t know whether or not people are being treated fairly.

Lack of Recognition and Reward

Not rewarding your employees’ efforts and recognising achievements can result in them feeling unappreciated. They may feel it doesn’t matter if they work hard or not. This increases the risk of work-related stress and mental injury.

Low Role Clarity

Low role clarity means that people are not sure what their responsibilities are or what is expected of them. It can also mean there are conflicting roles – when employees are told to do different things by different managers, and they are not sure who to listen to.

Poor Workplace Relationships

Unresolved conflict or strained relationships between co-workers or with managers lead to mental ill-health.

Remote and Isolated Work

Employees who have to work in remote areas may not have easy access to resources and communication. Travel times may be long.

Isolated work is where there are no or few other people around and so it is hard to get help from others especially in an emergency. When employees are working alone, remotely or in isolation they are at a higher risk of not only physical injury but also mental injury.

Violent and Traumatic Events

Workplace incidents which expose people to abuse, or the threat of harm, or actual harm, can cause fear and distress which can lead to stress and injury.

Different people find different events traumatic, so all employees are at risk of experiencing workplace trauma. Trauma doesn’t just affect the employees who are there at the time. Hearing stories about distressing incidents can result in second-hand trauma ('vicarious trauma') for some people.

Poor Environmental Conditions

Working in poor quality and hazardous working environments, such as poor air quality, high noise levels, extreme temperatures, working near unsafe machinery is not only a risk to your employee’s physical health, but also their mental health.


bottom of page