Sick leave due to work stress: When is the time to ask for it

Do you feel emotionally exhausted every day when you leave work? You may be suffering from work stress.

Career development

Stress is a state that many workers reach for different reasons and that can cause severe mental health problems. If it is not detected and addressed in time, this situation can become complicated, to the point of having to request leave due to work stress.

In this post, we want to talk to you about the pressure at work that we all, to a greater or lesser extent, endure during our work day or even outside of it. Is it beneficial for the company to have an employee in constant tension? To what extent is it good for a single person to be the recipient of responsibilities? What causes us to develop burnout syndrome? Stay with us and answer these and other most interesting questions!

Why do we feel stress at work?

In each era, the labour framework has been marked by certain characteristics resulting from technological evolution, consumer habits, market demand, science and everything else that can affect the pace of work and production of an organization. Just a few decades ago, ICT did not exist and high volumes of information did not play such a leading role in jobs. However, nowadays, everything is much more globalized and we deal every day with a multitude of data and new stimuli that we have to internalize and organize in our minds to move forward. When the amount of information we receive is not only overwhelming but we are obliged to apply it and assume the responsibilities that this entails, that is when work stress can appear.

However, all types of stress are not negative, since stress itself is a “hormonal warning” that activates us in situations that require it, such as, for example, an approaching deadline or a crisis. Too low a level of stress is directly related to demotivation, conformism and disinterest.

Work stress is already considered a pandemic by the WHO

Following the pandemic, workplace stress rates increased significantly in Europe, putting seven in ten workers at risk of suffering from depression or nervous anxiety. If we focus on Spain, according to a report carried out by the ADP Research Institute, 66% of workers experience stress at work at least once a week and 41% attribute it to having to take on more responsibilities after COVID-19. But that’s not all, there are many other reasons why we feel more overwhelmed in our workplace. We mention them below.

Too high workload

Work overload, tight deadlines, and the pressure to meet high work demands are common reasons for stress at work.

Unhealthy work environment

Conflicts with colleagues or superiors, lack of support, strained work relationships or an uncollaborative work environment can significantly contribute to stress.

Job insecurity

Uncertainty about employment, constant changes in working conditions, job insecurity or lack of job stability can generate anxiety and stress.

Imbalance between work and personal life

Difficulty in reconciling work and personal life, long working hours, and lack of time for personal or family activities can cause stress in workers.

Lack of recognition and reward

The lack of recognition for the work done, the absence of incentives or rewards, as well as the perception of a lack of appreciation, can be stress factors.

Technology and constant connectivity

The pressure to always be connected, excessive digital communication outside of work hours, and difficulty disconnecting can contribute to work stress.

What consequences can suffering from stress at work have?

Work stress is not a new phenomenon, but its incidence and intensity have increased in recent years, due to changes in the labour market, the economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and digital transformation.

According to the National Institute for Safety and Health at Work (INSST), work stress affects 59% of Spanish workers, is the second most common health problem after musculoskeletal disorders.

Of course, we cannot forget the mental health disorders that can be triggered, such as anxiety, depression, emotional exhaustion or other more serious and prolonged indirect problems. Unquestionably, all this will be reflected in the performance and productivity of the worker who suffers from it, as well as in the quality of his personal life.

Before requesting leave due to work stress, try to manage it with these strategies

Although work stress can be harmful to our health and performance, there are various strategies that we can put into practice to manage it effectively.

  • Improve your organization: getting organized is the first step to achieving optimal performance in the workplace and avoiding the development of cases of work stress34. This involves having a global perspective of the tasks to be performed and what our workspace should be like.
  • Set reasonable objectives: we must ensure that the objectives we set are reasonable and achievable, so as not to become frustrated if we cannot achieve them in the set time.
  • Learn to delegate: knowing how to work as a team, maintaining an assertive attitude and learning to delegate are key to not being overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. Sometimes, team leaders or colleagues themselves are not aware of all the work we do every day, so there is nothing better to redistribute the load than having a sincere and calm conversation to consider alternatives.
  • Exercise, take care of your diet and find moments for yourself: there are different strategies to avoid or minimize work stress, including changes in our habits, such as exercising and taking care of our diet. Finding spaces in the week to do activities that we like and with which we disconnect also has very positive results.

When can you request leave due to work stress?

If these tips do not lower your stress levels, you should request leave due to work stress. In Spain, the request for leave due to work stress can be made when a worker is in a situation of temporary disability due to mental health problems caused by work-related stress. To request this withdrawal, it is important to consider the following:

Medical diagnosis: the worker must be evaluated by a doctor, generally a primary care medical professional or a psychologist/psychiatrist, who will determine if work stress has caused a significant impact on the individual’s mental health and if rest is necessary. labor.

Medical prescription: the doctor will issue a medical report indicating the need for sick leave due to work stress, establishing the estimated period for rest and recovery.

Processing with Social Security: once the medical report is obtained, the worker must present it to Social Security, who will evaluate the situation and, if the requirements are met, will grant sick leave due to temporary disability due to work stress.

We hope this post has been useful to you. Continue learning more about HR, professional development and business management with Educa.Pro!

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