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Stress in the Workplace: Symptoms vs Cause




It’s often easier to focus on symptoms rather than causes.


Symptoms are usually more noticeable, by their very nature. The causes are usually more fickle, and much harder to spot.  


This requires much more effort. It demands greater attention and time. It’s can be difficult to change.

This is certainly true when we talk about workplace stress.



Mental health and wellbeing are top of the agenda right now, and rightly so. What’s making change difficult is the balance of time we spend talking about the symptoms, rather than the cause.

Much of the narrative is about being able to talk about issues, build resilience and being given the time and space to keep ourselves healthy when we’re under pressure. All of which is fantastic, and much needed.


But we must remember that these are the symptoms. We need to find the underlying cause too.


How has the workplace led to so much stress? What is it about the way we interact, the way we communicate and the expectations we place on people that is causing these responses on such an enormous scale.


How are our values awry? What is the best way to work in 2019? What changes do we need to make to prevent work making people feel this way?


These are much bigger questions, and much harder to answer. But those who ask them will be well ahead of their competitors. It’s time to ask the difficult questions to build a better, less stressful working world.

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