Fear factor: Employees reveal deepest workplace phobias

New survey says employees would turn down their dream job just to avoid their workplace nightmare

Fear factor: Employees reveal deepest workplace phobias

Nearly nine in 10 employees are suffering from fears related to their work, with majority saying these fears have negatively impacted their workplace experience, according to a new report.

A survey by LiveCareer among 1,039 US respondents found that 87% have work-related fears, including 79% who have phobias that impact their work life.

Employees appear to be afraid of accountability, as the report found that the top two work-related fears are making decisions (23%) and taking responsibility (18%). Their other fears include:

  • Public speaking (16%)
  • Getting fired (13%)
  • Making a mistake (13%)
  • Being disliked by co-workers or boss (9%)
  • Not being able to handle the workload (2%)

Impact on employees

These fears have devastating effect on employees, with 81% saying they would not accept their dream job if it meant facing their biggest fear, according to the report.

A similar number said their fears have already negatively impacted their work. This is reflected in instances such as:

  • Frequent absences from work (37%)
  • Missing out on promotions (35%)
  • Being forced to quit a job (35%)
  • Missing out on pay raises (32%)

More than seven in 10 (74%) respondents also said they felt discriminated against because of their fears, with 80% believing that having such phobias is something to be ashamed of.

Need for greater mental health support

These workplace fears demonstrate how it's critical to support mental health, including fears and phobias, at work, according to Nina Paczka, Career Expert at LiveCareer.

According to the report, employees are keeping their fears and phobias to themselves because they feel ashamed (21%) and they don't trust anyone enough to share them (17%). But for those who expressed their fears (80%), they did so to a co-worker (40%) or to the company's HR team (31%).

"These findings underscore the importance of building a company culture that destigmatizes and strengthens mental health in the workplace through proper employee support and resources," Paczka said in a statement.

And while the majority (86%) said there is enough support and resources that address their fears and phobias, 73% also agreed that employers should provide more. According to the respondents, these factors could encourage them to seek help and overcome their fears:

  • Getting a dream job (46%)
  • Feeling that the work environment is supportive (45%)
  • Improving social relations at work (44%)
  • Additional workplace benefits (44%)
  • Promotion (41%)
  • Promise of improving motivation and performance to work (37%)
  • Pay raise (36%)

Another 72% of the respondents said benefit plans should also include therapy and counselling, according to the report. They added that fears and phobias should be discussed openly at work (70%), as stigma or discrimination can prevent employees from seeking help (66%).

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