Definition: Behavioural Symptoms

Work-related stress is a rampant problem in organisations all over the globe. There are a number of ways in which work-related stress can manifest itself. These signs and symptoms are classified into 3 categories: Behavioural, Psychological and Physical.

Behavioural symptoms arise when the ability or capacity of the employee falls short of the organisation’s growing demands. It can also be due to negative work environment such as being subject to office politics or bullying. Common behavioural symptoms include:

1. Increase in absenteeism

2. Unexplained aggressive behaviour

3. Reduction in creativity

4. No initiatives taken by employee

5. Irritability/ Mood swings

6. Marked reduction in level of work performance

7. Disinterest in assigned tasks

8. Increased frustration/ loss of patience

9. Quarrels with peers and problems in personal relationships

10. Change in sleep patterns

11. Change in food habits to cope with stress. For example, consumption of alcohol or smoking

12. Isolation

In addition, when working in a group, such signs can be easily spotted by the supervisor if there are increased complaints by the other members of the team or several disputes or dissatisfaction in the group.

 Also, individuals showing behavioural symptoms of stress may take more time to deliver assigned deliverables or make more errors and deliver sub-standard work due to loss of enthusiasm for the work.

It is important to note that what acts like a stressor for some employees might form a part of challenge for some other employees. This is dependent on a number of factors like the individual’s personality (Type A or Type B), psychological make-up, status of personal relationships and health.

Colleagues and supervisor of employees recognize such behavioural symptoms at an early stage so that proper intervention measures can be taken before the problem becomes acute. This is important for the well-being of the employee, maintenance of a healthy work-life balance and also to ensure there is no loss of productivity of the organisation.

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