Five Shocking Facts You Need to Know About Workplace Stress

Workplace Stress - A Stressed-Out Man


If you’re like most Canadian workers, chances are you experience at least some workplace stress. Many Canadians feel so stressed out at work that it can interfere with their daily functioning and have dangerous consequences. But the problem is especially serious in Quebec. One out of four people in Quebec, compared to one out of five in Canada, experience a lot of workplace stress. Thirty-eight percent of workers in Quebec have experienced “very” or “extremely” stressful workdays, compared to just 30% in the rest of Canada.

Stress by Province Map

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(Data source: Statistics Canada)


Here’s what you need to know about stress at work, and how it affects you and your company:

1. Chronic stress impairs your memory and causes “cortical inhibition”, shutting down parts of your brain and preventing you from performing at your best.

2. Workplace stress and related mental illnesses cost the Canadian economy an estimated $33 billion per year in lost productivity (Macleans).

3. According to analysis by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, more than 500,000 Canadians are absent from work each week due to stress and mental-health related causes.

4. People in high-stress jobs are at a 22% elevated risk of stroke. The risk is even higher for women—women in high-stress jobs have a 33% higher risk of stroke than those in low-stress jobs.

5. A French study has shown that the biggest cause of workplace stress is excess work, followed by hierarchical pressure. See the other causes of workplace stress below:

Top Causes of Workplace Stress

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(Data source:

A Positive Side to Stress?

High stress levels are often unavoidable in the modern workplace. So how can we limit the negative consequences of stress? And can stress even be a good thing?

Learning how to effectively manage stress at work can help counter its negative effects. Researchers like Kelly McGonigal have explained how stress can be a positive force for change when viewed as a natural way that our body prepares us to face challenges. Stress has also been shown to release oxytocin, a hormone that increases sociability and encourages teamwork. According to Gilles Barbot, head and founder of Esprit de Corps, “you can work hard without necessarily feeling stressed… when you truly connect with others, stress won’t have an effect on you”.

By developing positive thinking, strengthening your workplace team and keeping your body in top shape with exercise and the right foods, you too can combat the negative effects of stress. Learn more about stress management techniques for leaders here.

So, what will your organization do to combat the negative consequences of poorly-managed workplace stress? How will you harness the ups and downs of day-to-day life to create a stronger, more driven team?

Improve your team’s well-being and turn workplace stress into performance with a unique Esprit de Corps challenge!