In particular, a heavy workload, job insecurity, a lack of direction and fairness, and excessive work hours can create feelings of anxiety in even the most resilient employees.
Working under a toxic manager can be psychologically taxing. Prolonged exposure to a boss who is controlling, bullying, or in the most severe cases, narcissistic, can create an environment of fear and affect levels of anxiety and overall well-being.
Even a slightly dysfunctional boss, such as one who exhibits micromanagement, poor communication, a lack of direction, or an inability to show up, can contribute to employee satisfaction and feelings of anxiety. When an employee experiences extensive micromanagement, they may feel that they aren’t trusted, creating a lack of confidence and an increase in anxiety.
Long work hours can also contribute to exhaustion, stress, and anxiety at work. Longer work hours often mean less time for relaxation and sleep. According to a study, employees may get more work done when they work fewer hours. However, working any number of hours for an overly stressful job can still be detrimental.
A heavy workload is one of the main reasons for stress at work. Many businesses expect employees to take on more than what time permits. This expectation can create stress, anxiety, poor sleep, fatigue, and job burnout.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new cause for potential anxiety and depression associated with work. The lack of social interaction caused by the pandemic has created increased isolation and loneliness. Humans are social creatures, and their interactions influence brain functioning. The size and strength of someone’s social network are partially responsible for creating enhanced cognitive functioning.
The experience of unprecedented isolation and loneliness has the opposite effect and eventually leads to cognitive decline and increased mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. However, many individuals have become more accustomed to interacting with fewer people and doing things independently.
As it has become increasingly standard for individuals to operate with fewer social interactions, returning to in-person meetings, classes, and social events have become quite overwhelming for many. A lack of social skill utilization attributes to overwhelming feelings of anxiety when reintroducing this kind of socialization.
There may also be anxiety associated with safety. Although many are returning to everyday life, protection from COVID-19 is still not guaranteed. There is a continuation of uncertainty and unpredictability associated with the virus and its effects on peoples’ lives, especially as they return to work in person.
Aside from the health and safety aspect, there are additional uncertainties when returning to work post-COVID-19. An employee may experience uncertainty regarding potential changes in their job, social distancing practices at the workplace, their ability to handle any changes at work, job security, and family members’ ability to care for themselves at home.
Employees returning to work may also wonder if their current career is actually what they want long-term. After being home for an extended time, some individuals may realize that they are not happy in their current careers. When individuals begin to examine whether they should take a different career path, the uncertainty of what that will look like can also create increased anxiety.