Workplace Anxiety

What is it Workplace Anxiety?

Everyone is familiar with feeling anxious or stressed at the workplace every now and then. Some anxiety in the workplace can help to facilitate and boost performance, by helping with focus and regulating our behaviours to remain motivated and stay on task. Without anxiety, performance can suffer as we may become complacent about the task at hand. However, persistent, excessive, and overwhelming stress or anxiety that impacts daily functioning can interfere with productivity and performance, particularly if we become distracted by the anxiety and its causes.

Toxic work environments, stressful tasks, tight deadlines, long hours, increasing demands, and workplace bullying are some causes of anxiety within the workplace. Unfortunately, workplace anxiety often effects home and personal life, and can ultimately negatively impact on our physical and emotional health, as well as your relationships. Therefore, it is important to address it as soon as you notice it in your life. Workplace anxiety differs from Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) as the symptoms are more specifically related to work and the work environment. However, workplace anxiety may present as generalized fears, phobias, or anxieties regarding working conditions, interacting with colleagues and superiors, as well as fears of inadequacy or judgement. Common workplace anxieties include:

  • Fear of working in groups
  • Fear of not meeting deadlines
  • Worrying that work may not meet expectations of others
  • Fear of interacting with authority figures
  • Difficulties delegating tasks to others
  • Fear of speaking out
  • Fear of public humiliation
  • Fear of noticeable embarrassment or nervousness
  • Avoidance of committing to new and challenging tasks
  • Fear of not performing to the highest standards
  • Fear of negative evaluation of performance or professional standards

Symptom Checklist

Signs of workplace anxiety includes:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach problems
  • Muscle tension / headaches / migraines
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of interest in work or being at work
  • Social withdrawal
  • Drinking alcohol or taking illicit substances to cope
  • Feeling more irritable at work or at home
  • Feeling overwhelmed by everyday life
  • Finding it difficult to ‘switch off’ from work even when not at work
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