Patrick Légeron

Stress in the Workplace Publication date : September 1, 2001

Stress is the primary cause of psychological distress in the workplace. The sources of stress are on the rise: professional burn-out, overwork, emotional frustrations, lack of communication between management and employees, harassment, the rudeness of clients, the pressures of productivity, mergers and other economic shake-ups. In France, the rise in job-related stress has occurred in spite of shorter working hours, renewed economic growth, and technological progress which had initially promised to improve working conditions.

The nature of stress today is more often psychological than physical, but the problems it causes have taken on epidemic proportions: sleep disorders, backaches, anxiety, heart attacks and suicide. Not only does stress threaten the mental and physical health of many people, it is also costly for businesses and the state. As a result, many companies are now ordering “stress audits” to measure stress levels. Several alarming studies of stress have been made by the French public health authorities.

Although certain professions are particularly stressful (teachers, air traffic controllers, nurses, telephone-service operators and sales staff are singled out here), everyone, regardless of his or her profession or job description, can be subject to stress.

This book will help readers to identify and evaluate their own stress factors, to understand the mechanisms and risks that are involved and to learn how to face them. The author suggests actions that businesses can undertake to improve the working environment and to optimise workforce management. He also shows how to chose the type of management that is best suited to a given situation. This is a lively, clearly written and well-researched book, based on Patrick Legeron’s experience both as a psychiatrist and business consultant.

Patrick Legeron is a medical psychiatrist at Hôpital Sainte-Anne, in Paris, and the head of a company offering counselling services to businesses on stress in the workplace. He is the co-author, with Christophe André, of La Peur des autres.