There are different kinds of stress at work. Stress at work might be a good thing when you’re challenged to do something new. It can make you work harder, make your job more interesting and help you learn new skills. For example, giving a work presentation to a group of people.
But when stress at work makes you feel out of control, anxious or depressed, day after day, it’s a bad thing. It can also lead to physical health problems like headaches, muscle pain and chronic fatigue.
If you're experiencing this type of stress, you need to try and make some changes to avoid stress at work.
Talk to your employer, supervisor or human resources manager. Let them know how you feel. Ask them what you can do together to help you reduce or manage workplace stress.
If you need more help, you can also contact WorkSafe Victoria or your union if you’re a member.
You can also contact Kids Helpline. It’s for anyone aged 13 to 25 to get help about anything. You can reach them by phone, webchat or email. It’s free and totally confidential.
There are some other ways to get help that we’ve included at the bottom of this page.
What causes stress?
Lots of things can cause you to feel stressed at work. Here are some examples:
- You're given too much work to do.
- You’re not given enough work or enough shifts.
- There aren’t enough people to share the work.
- You’re not sure how to do your job because you haven’t been trained properly.
- You're working long hours.
- You're worried you’re going to lose your job.
- You're having trouble communicating with someone you work with.
- You're being bullied or harassed.
- You’re not being recognised for your work and might be missing out on promotional opportunities.
How to avoid stress at work
You and your employer need to work together to prevent and manage stress at work. You should tell your employer if you’re feeling stressed. You should also suggest ways that things could be changed. Your employer can make changes to your duties and to the workplace.
Things that can help to reduce work stresses include:
- creating a safe and healthy work environment
- talking about changes to job roles or workplace practices
- minimising unpaid overtime
- taking a reasonable amount of time between shifts and taking regular rest breaks
- sharing workloads fairly.
What you can do
As well as working with your employer on ways to change things at work, you can also:
- eat well, and make sure you take your meal breaks and rest breaks
- exercise (this will help you sleep better and give you more energy)
- try some relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation
- sleep for at least seven or eight hours each night
- make time to see family and friends.
If you’re struggling, you don’t have to face your problems alone. You can get help by contacting:
All these services offer free, confidential support by phone or webchat.
You can also use ReachOut’s NextStep app to get help. The app will ask you some questions about how you’re feeling, and recommend some ways to get help.
These include webchat support services, peer forums where you can meet others online who are going through a similar experience, as well as phone and face-to-face services.
Links to more information about stress at work
Find out more about work-related stress and its effects.
Fact sheet on fatigue, stress and injury in the workplace.
Information and advice about health and safety at work.