Comprehensive Guide to Work Stress Symptoms & How to Manage Them

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Money Savings Advice Guide to managing work stress

Are you one of the millions of people suffering work stress symptoms? Is stress having an impact on your daily life both in the office and at home?

Even though a healthy level of stress can be beneficial, when stress becomes too much, it can have a huge physical and mental impact on an individual and those around them.

Thankfully, there are ways and means of diagnosing stress and tackling this debilitating condition.

Common Work Stress Symptoms

Work stress symptoms include an inability to focus on your home life, disrupted sleeping, headaches, mood swings and more. It's important you speak to your manager and your doctor to get support in dealing with work stress.

While there is such a thing as a “healthy level of stress” when stress in the workplace becomes too much, it can have a huge physical and mental impact on individuals.

Thankfully, there are ways and means of controlling stress in the workplace, but the first thing is to recognise and diagnose the issue.

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What Are the Main Signs of Work-Related Stress?

Unfortunately, those suffering stress in the workplace will likely see a knock-on effect on all areas of their life. Some of the recognised symptoms include:-

  • Disrupted sleeping patterns
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Backache
  • Indigestion
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heavy consumption of caffeine/alcohol
  • The low productivity in the workplace
  • A high rate of absence
  • Accident-prone
  • Over defensive
  • Constantly finding fault in others

These are just a few of the more common signs of stress in the workplace, and while many of us will recognise one or two of those, when you suffer from a number together, this can be a sign of stress.

Should I Talk to My Employer About Work-Related Stress?

Yes. While many people feel opening up about stress in the workplace is a sign of weakness, it is, in fact, the exact opposite. Large organisations will have human resource departments there to help employees, and this is often in confidence. One of the main problems is that if you don’t tell your employer what is wrong, how can they help?

How Can I Reduce Stress in the Workplace?

Thankfully, there are some very simple actions you can take to reduce stress in the workplace which include:-

  • Taking your regular breaks - even go for a walk away from the office
  • Office structure - changing the layout of your office can have a positive impact on stress
  • Flexible/remote working - in the light of the coronavirus pandemic this will be a greater consideration going forward
  • Encourage social activity/interaction - interacting with others, taking your mind off the job for just a short while can be extremely relaxing
  • Take some quiet time - even just five or 10 minutes away from your desk can help you destress and refocus
  • Counselling and formal assistance - many large companies offer on-site counselling/assistance regarding stress in the workplace
  • Appreciate your staff - as an employer it is very important to appreciate your staff

Each individual action listed above may have a minimal impact on your stress levels, but the cumulative impact of two, three or more actions can have a huge impact.

Is Stress Classed as an Illness?

The simple answer is yes. While historically issues such as depression, stress and anxiety were seen by many but as “a sign of weakness” they are now officially recognised as mental health issues.

It is also worth noting that mental health is recognised and treated in the same way as physical health when it comes to employment laws and the courts. For example, if you had a legitimate personal injury claim against your employer, then the courts would recognise physical/mental issues in the same light.

Financial Worries Are Making My Stress Even Worse; What Can I Do?

When we begin to feel stressed in the workplace, this can often lead to worries regarding long-term employment and job security. Unfortunately, many people suffering extreme stress in the workplace will continue without a break because they are concerned that taking time off will impact their career.

However, income protection insurance offers a level of secure regular income if you were unable to work as a consequence of illness, injury, etc.

What Is Income Protection?

Income protection comes in two forms, long-term protection and short-term protection. Long-term protection will pay out if you are unable to work on medical grounds. You will receive income from the policy until you are fit to return to work or reach your predetermined retirement date.

Short-term income protection will only provide cover for 12 to 24 months per claim per condition. While a traditional policy would always include sickness/injury cover, many people prefer to add unemployment/redundancy protection.

How Much Would an Income Protection Policy Payout?

The traditional range of payments from an income protection policy tends to be from 50% to 70% of your gross monthly income. The higher the level of payment, the higher the level of premiums you should expect to pay. It is important to note that these payments are tax-free because you pay the premiums using funds which have already been taxed at source.

How Do I Work Out How Much Income I Need Each Month?

Many people will look at their monthly outgoings and expenses and work backwards. For example, if you earned £2000 gross a month and your living expenses were circa £800, then a 50% payment would cover your expenses and a little more.

You would also need to take into account additional income sources and any surplus you required above your basic living expenses.

How Long Would I Receive Income Protection Payments?

With a long term policy, income protection payments would continue until you were able to go back to work or reached a predetermined retirement date. With short-term income protection, you would likely receive payments for a period of 12 to 24 months per claim per condition - many people include redundancy protection with a short-term policy.

Would I Continue Making Premium Payments During an Active Claim Period?

No. If you are in receipt of payments from your income protection policy, then premiums would not resume until payments had ended.

Do I Need Income Protection Insurance?

There are many factors to take into consideration when looking at income protection insurance. As a consequence, it is probably best to take professional advice about your situation and how best you can protect yourself. If you go down this route, you will come across tied insurance brokers and independent insurance brokers.

What Is the Difference Between Tied/Independent Insurance Brokers?

A tied insurance broker is restricted to the number of parties they can deal with across the insurance market. An independent insurance broker is able to deal with anybody in the marketplace, which many believe gives them a competitive edge. But does it?

In reality, even an independent insurance broker can only have deep-seated relationships with a small number of insurance companies. It is impossible to build strong relationships with all parties in the market because it is just so huge. However, many people still believe this gives them a competitive edge over their tied broker counterparts.

Interestingly, a tied insurance broker will channel all of their business through one insurance company (or an enlarged group). This can create very strong negotiating powers. As a consequence, there is no reason why they cannot negotiate similar terms to their independent counterparts or even enhanced terms. Take nothing for granted when it comes to insurance!

What Sick Pay Am I Entitled to if I Am off Work?

Statutory sick pay is around £94 a week and unfortunately not always enough to cover short to medium-term expenses. However, some companies do provide enhanced sick pay which may provide full pay for a certain period of time after which it will begin to taper off.

Therefore, it is important to check your employment contract to see the terms of your sick pay and when various elements are available and removed.

Money Savings Advice Tip

Financial stress can be caused by overthinking what could happen if you lost your job. Remove that element of stress by getting an income protection policy, so if you lost your job, you still have a monthly income.

Could I Claim Compensation for Workplace Stress?

If you have been placed under undue pressure in the workplace, under various scenarios, you may well have a claim for compensation. All employers have a legal duty of care towards the physical and mental well-being of their employees. If your employer has been negligent in any way with regards to this obligation, you may well be able to claim compensation.

Can I Be Sacked if I Decide to Seek Compensation?

No. Over the years, we have seen the introduction of new regulations which offer greater protection to employees. So, if you decide to seek compensation as a consequence of physical/mental injuries received in the workplace, your employer is not allowed to sack you for this reason.

It is also very important that those who have suffered physical/mental trauma in the workplace, as a consequence of negligence, are able to hold those third parties to account. History shows that it is traditionally bad press and financial penalties which force employers to change their procedures in the workplace. If they weren’t held to account, they wouldn’t have an incentive to make the necessary changes?

Should I Seek the Services of a Claims Management Company?

If you believe you have a compensation claim against your employer as a consequence of negligence, you should discuss your case with a claims management company. They will advise you of the evidence required, your chances of a successful prosecution and the next steps to take.


Stress in the workplace is a real problem that can impact both mental and physical health. It is in the best interests of employers to appreciate and tackle the problem because it will impact productivity and overall profitability.

Employers also have a legal obligation to protect the health and well-being of their employees, and there may be consequences if undue stress is placed on the workforce.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With an Income Protection Insurance?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Income Protection Insurance brokers. They have already helped thousands of people get the best Income Protection Insurance cover and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent adviser means they won’t recommend a scheme unless they are sure it is in your best interests. Their advice is also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these brokers who can provide you with a ‘whole market quote’ then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Money Savings Advice Author Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Mark has been writing professionally for over ten years for the financial sector. Having started in the financial world as a stock-broker in central London and then moving to equities trader Mark is one of our senior financial writers who has a vast knowledge of multiple financial sectors.

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