Problems at work: What are they and how to seek help to solve them?

Work has become a fundamental part of our lives. We spend a large part of our day at work and almost all our activities beyond work are organized around it.

Work can be a source of satisfaction, not only because it allows us to cover material needs through the associated remuneration, but also because it can be a factor of personal satisfaction, either because our professional activity is vocational and motivating or because it represents a challenge for us with respect to ourselves and therefore is an activity of personal development.

On the contrary, work can also be a source of enormous dissatisfaction for those people for whom their work is a generator of interpersonal conflicts, a source of physical or psychological stress, or an unmotivating activity that is not aligned with their personal interests.

For these people, work gradually becomes an unbearable and distressing activity, the simple fact of getting up to go to work is torture and even the day before starting their work week they experience anticipatory anxiety, depressive feelings and anguish.

What is a work problem?

Labor problems are all those situations that generate a conflict, dissatisfaction or difficulty at work. They can be problems with your boss or teammates, but they can also be caused by an excessive workload or not receiving adequate motivation.

Problems at work not only end up affecting your productivity, but can also trigger mood disorders.

There are different problems at work:

  • Job stress. Excessive pressure at work can cause high levels of stress, a common situation in places where you work under tight deadlines or where too many responsibilities and tasks are placed on the shoulders of workers.
  • Burnout syndrome. Also known as burnout syndrome, it is common in service professionals who are in constant contact with other people. However, you can also suffer from it if you are subjected to excessive schedules that prevent you from resting and disconnecting from work or if you have to take on too many responsibilities that exceed your capabilities. In such cases, prolonged exposure to stress causes your mind and body to reach their limits and can no longer cope with the demands of work.
  • Difficulties in relationships with co-workers. Disagreements with your coworkers or problems with your boss can generate a climate of tension at work that ends up taking its toll on you. It could be bosses who make your life impossible due to poor management, an overly competitive environment that generates friction among workers or leadership struggles among teammates. In the long run, these problems at work often generate frustration and, if left unresolved, will lead to deep job dissatisfaction.
  • Mobbing or harassment at work. It is a psychological violence that is exercised continuously on the person in the workplace. This harassment can come from your superior, your co-workers or from the company itself. Mobbing generates an unsustainable work environment as it resorts to all kinds of tactics to undermine your confidence, from humiliation to spreading rumors to marginalize you, recurrent threats of dismissal or even putting obstacles in your way so that you cannot do your job well.
  • Career reorientation. You know what you don’t want, but you don’t know what you want. You think you should change your job, but you don’t know how or which direction to take. When you suffer a lack of motivation with your current job, you know you should change but you find it difficult to reinvent yourself professionally, which generates a state of uncertainty and anguish that is difficult to sustain for a long time.


The consequences of work-related problems can be devastating for the people who suffer from them. We can find consequences in different levels and areas of life:

  • Cognitive level: memory and learning problems may occur. Perception of personal inability to deal with even the smallest difficulties at work.
  • Social level: Isolation, explosions of anger against the immediate environment and inability to manage and include social activities in daily life.
  • Emotional level: The emotional states typical of work-related problems are anxiety, depression, irritability and anhedonia, among others.
  • Work level: Difficulty in decision making, problems in managing work time adequately and decreased work performance even for simple tasks that were previously managed without difficulty.
  • Physiological level: At the physical level there are changes in the sleep pattern such as insomnia, interrupted non-restorative sleep, exhaustion and psychosomatic disorders (gastric problems, headaches, choking sensation, etc).
  • Personal level: The person has a perception of himself/herself as ineffective both from a work and social point of view. Diminished self-esteem, inability to experience pleasure in other activities not dependent on work.

Symptoms of problems at work

How do you know if problems at work are affecting your well-being? In a general sense, if you have any of the following symptoms, you should ask for help:

  • You feel constantly harassed by some co-workers and/or your boss.
  • In the mornings, you find it hard to get up in the morning and feel unenthusiastic about starting the day because of the prospect of having to go to work.
  • You feel frustrated, work does not motivate you and you do not like what you do.
  • Your productivity has decreased and you feel more exhausted than usual.
  • You feel that the work environment is very tense and every day you find it more and more unbearable.
  • Work is adding a great deal of stress to your life.

Causes of work problems

There are different types of work problems, so there are many different causes. However, some of the most common are:

  • Managers with poor leadership skills that cause problems among employees.
    Economic crisis in the company, which creates a more tense work environment due to the pressure to perform better.
  • Cultural and personality differences among colleagues, which cause conflicts in relationships.
  • Power struggles that generate an overly competitive environment because the objectives set are so aggressive that everyone strives to reach the top at the expense of others.
  • Difficulties in internal communication among employees, which gives rise to rumors and lack of information.
  • Wrong choice of job. Maybe you studied a career because “it had a way out”, or you are working in something you don’t like just to “pay the bills”.
  • Lack of harmony between personal and corporate values, so that you do not feel comfortable in the work environment of the company.
  • Mismatch between personal perspectives and work reality, a common problem in companies forced to restructure, where their workers have had to take on tasks and functions that did not correspond to them and for which they were not trained.

Consequences of problems at work

Problems at work are not good for the company or the employees. In such a scenario, everyone loses. When you don’t feel good at work and you are not motivated, you will not only perform less, but you will make more mistakes, which will affect the company’s productivity and competitiveness.

On the contrary, companies where their employees have a higher level of commitment and motivation increase their sales by approximately 30% and increase customer loyalty by up to 50%.

Job dissatisfaction increases the cost of absenteeism, increases staff turnover and generates a bad image for the company.

On an individual level, job demotivation ends up generating a deep frustration and a feeling of dissatisfaction, since you do not achieve professional fulfillment. When this situation is prolonged over time, you may even suffer from depression, anxiety or psychosomatic disorders.