When work and home stress collide

The increasing pressures of modern-day working life can take a toll on any employee. However, it's important to consider how factors from other dimensions in our lives can also affect our mental resilience, as a new study suggests.

According to researchers from Concordia University and the University of Montreal, people often tend to forget about influences at home when discussing workplace stress and wellbeing. Factors including tight deadlines and abusive colleagues can all harm our mental health – however, the study posits that “having an understanding partner is just as important as having a supportive boss”.

The researchers, who studied almost 2,000 employees from over 60 organisations, concluded that several issues from different areas of life can contribute to mental health issues at work. These issues included social factors such as parental status, personal social networks and self-esteem levels, to common workplace “stressors” such as emotional exhaustion and job insecurity.

Findings from the study suggest that workplace wellbeing is deeply affected by factors outside of the office. For example, those with the support of a strong social network outside of work generally have fewer mental issues in the workplace. 

“This is a call to action. Researchers need to expand their perspective so that they get a full picture of the complexity of factors that determine individuals' mental health,” said Steve Harvey, dean of Concordia's John Molson School of Business and senior author of the study.

Lead Author Alain Marchand, from the University of Montreal's School of Industrial Relations, added that “to maintain a truly healthy workforce, we need to look outside the office or home in simple terms to combat mental health issues in the workplace”.

For those looking to succeed at work, mastering workplace stress can be a big hurdle to overcome. Resilience programs such as Executive Stamina can be a vital tool here, helping participants achieve greater work/life harmony and teaching them how to boost both emotional and physical energy when needed.