Two Types of Workplace Stress

workplace stress safetyTwo Types of Stress at Work Safety Talk

How we feel at work greatly affects our performance as well as our ability to work safely. One thing that affects whether or not we feel our best is the level of stress we experience while on the job. When discussing stress, the traditional two types of stress are often discussed. The two types are eustress which is the good stress, and there is distress which is negative stress.

In this safety talk, however, we will look at stress in a different way. We will categorize stress on the job as either unnecessary stress or motivating stress.

Unnecessary Stress on the Job

Unnecessary stress is exactly what it sounds like. It is a negative stress put upon workers unnecessarily. There is a lot of unnecessary stress created at work. Different sources create unnecessary stress.

Some common sources to consider:

  • Poor communication. Individuals who choose to yell, belittle, or disrespect others in the workplace create a lot of unnecessary stress. How we communicate with each other is vital to ensure everyone can work safely and efficiently as a team.
  • Poor preplanning. Improper planning for work tasks impacts production schedules as well as creates more hazards for everyone involved in the task. Because of the effect on schedule as well as the safety of the task, individuals will face unnecessary stress.
  • Bad leadership. Related to the above two sources of unnecessary stress, bad leadership creates a lot of unnecessary stress at work. Leadership does not automatically mean supervisors or managers. Experienced workers are also leaders. When the leaders in a workplace are not doing the best job they can be, everyone suffers.

Motivating Stress on the Job

Motivating stress, on the other hand, is a positive stress. Motivating stress comes from different sources.

Some common sources of motivating stress:

  • Wanting to perform for coworkers or supervisors. When employees work well together and respect one another, they want to do the best job they can do for the benefit of everyone at the company. This results in a motivating stress to do better.
  • A new task or procedure. When we get a new task or have to follow a new procedure, it can be challenging. The challenge of a new work task or procedure should be viewed as a motivating stress and not a negative stress. Getting outside of your comfort zone is vital for growth.


Instead of thinking of stress as the traditional two types of stress, categorize it as unnecessary or motivating. How much of the stress you are dealing with at work is unnecessary? How can it be eliminated? Are you a source of unnecessary stress for someone else at work? Eliminate unnecessary stress and embrace motivating stress to become a more efficient and safer worker.

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