On the Gold Coast we are fortunate enough to have access to a multitude of lifestyle pleasures; including some of the best beaches in Queensland, the fun and thrill of theme parks, or the relaxation many local parks and scenic areas provide. With so many tourists coming back to the Gold Coast again and again for a piece of our fantastic lifestyle, why is it that so many of us are now succumbing to conditions associated with stress?

Workplaces have started to extend into our personal lives

It’s no secret the workplace can affect our mental health, both positively and negatively, and, with the rise of technology allowing for most work related tasks to be completed from home, the workplace has gradually extended into our personal lives. These changes in work habits have placed greater demands on workers, with the line becoming increasingly blurred in determining when the workday starts and ends. With individuals working longer hours than ever before, it is imperative for employers and employees to work together to keep the work environment free from unnecessary stress.

Workplace stress is on the rise

Many Australians are now suffering from conditions associated with work related stress, with stress related claims becoming the second most common Workers’ Compensation claim in Australia.

Risk factors for stress in the workplace include high work demands, longer working hours, poor support for employees, unresolved conflict with other workers, workplace bullying, the threat of job loss, exposure to traumatic events, and an absence of recognition and reward. In addition to psychological issues, such an anxiety and depression, the development of work related stress can also lead to a decrease in work performance and an increase in workplace absence. It is therefore increasingly important for employers, not only from a health perspective but a productivity perspective, to recognise work related stress as a major health and safety issue.

What you can do if you are suffering from stress

Any employees suffering from work related stress should try to take steps to help themselves by talking their concerns over with their human resources manager or employer, attempting to become more organised by breaking down tasks or identifying work which may be delegated, promoting changes in the workplace which make workloads easier to manage, taking time out from work to exercise regularly, and also seeking professional counselling if needed.

Employers can also help to prevent the incidence of workplace stress by taking steps to create a safe workplace environment, being open to dialogue about employee concerns concerning work stress issues, employing extra staff to cut down on work demands, taking workplace bullying seriously, and recognising that work related stress is a real problem for workers.

Organisations that can help

If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression it is important for you to report your symptoms with your doctor. You may also seek further help through services such as Beyond Blue.

Overall, it is important that our community begins to recognise that work related stress is a real problem. As individuals, we need to ensure we take time out from work to ensure our mental health and wellbeing is looked after and the Gold Coast provides a great setting for this. As employers, we need to be mindful to create an environment which assists in helping workers to cope with increasing demands and is also safe from other issues, such as workplace bullying.

For more information on identifying and managing workplace stress, a number of free resources can be found on the Queensland Government website.