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  • Writer's pictureCultureyes Consultants

How can working in multicultural teams increase stress at work?

Did you know?

  1. Stress is a major cause of long-term absence from work. In the UK only, over 11 million working days are lost because of stress at work every year

  2. ‘Pressure’ and ‘stress’ are often confused, but they are not the same. Whereas short-term pressure can help at work (e.g. improve performance to meet a deadline), stress is associated with continuous or excessive pressure and can be harmful to health

  3. Personal interactions at work (management and peer to peer) are one of the major factors that influence stress levels. In multicultural teams, misunderstanding of other people’s behaviour can enhance stress

According to CIPD 2020 Health and wellbeing survey, the main causes of employee stress include:

  • Management style

  • Relationships at work

  • Workloads/volume of work

  • Pressure to meet targets or deadlines

  • Non-work factors – personal illness or health issues

  • Non-work factors – relationship or family issues

Management style can become a stress source because of cultural clashes between a manager and an employee. For example:

  • When a manager is culturally wired to expect initiatives from an employee whereas for his/her subordinate it is essential to receive instructions

  • If a manager tends to make individual decisions while his team wishes to participate in decision making process

  • When a manager wants to be in control of all outgoing communication (emails) while his subordinate perceives control as threat to his autonomy

Intercultural training is there to support managers and employees to relieve stress related to cultural tensions.

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