Doc Talk #89 – Workplace Stress



In general, work is extremely beneficial for people’s health. It can give a sense of purpose, achievement and fulfilment. However if the workplace is dysfunctional it can cause significant stress. In this show, Dr Dan and Jamieson talked about how to spot signs of workplace stress and talked about some practical tips for managing it.

We discussed the Whitehall studies – which looked at English civil servants. There is a dangerous combination of high demand and low control which contributes to workplace stress. If this is coupled with job security, financial concerns or home issues then this compound the problems.

From a medical perspective, one of the first questions we ask is: is this problem principally a workplace issue, is it a healthcare issue, or is it a combination of both? We try to get clear about the cause and effect relationship between work and health. Defining where the problem arises is important if we are to arrive at a solution.

  • Keep the lines of communication with your employer open
  • Make use of support structures, such as employee support programs (especially for larger companies)
  • Don’t forget your informal support structures (family, friends etc)
  • Consider talking to your union representative if applicable

Just sometimes it may be better to get yourself out of a very toxic workplace environment, even though this can be a big decision.

Here are some good resources for managing workplace stress from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and AnxietyBC.