The workplace tasks that make us most anxious

Having to give someone negative feedback tops the list of the most scary tasks at work, according to a new survey.

The poll by Powwownow reveals that more than half of UK office workers reported that giving negative feedback to colleagues is the scariest workplace task.

Making a phone call in front of others came a close second, with 20% of those polled admitting that they often put off making calls altogether. In all, the top five most scary work tasks are:

  • Giving negative feedback to a colleague;
  • Making a phone call in front of co-workers;
  • Presenting to colleagues;
  • Explaining you've missed a target to a manager;
  • Having to say no to a client or customer.

Other intimidating tasks include asking for a promotion or a pay raise - more than half of UK workers said this made them "very anxious". In addition, two-thirds of those polled said that they were afraid to call in sick, mainly because they thought their manager wouldn't believe they were really ill.

Despite these fears, the majority of respondents said they were more likely to tackle difficult tasks in person or over the phone, rather than sending an email. When asked what would help them overcome their workplace fears, UK workers cited regular communication with managers and clear workplace policies on issues such as sick leave.

Jason Downes, managing director of Powwownow, said: "While it's great to see that picking up the phone and opening the channels of communication help people conquer the most common workplace fears, more needs to be done to help alleviate anxiety in the UK workplace.

"Today's professionals rightly consider wellbeing and a healthy work-life balance as top priorities, and businesses need to start providing environments that support these. Giving regular updates on company policies around sick leave and flexible working will create environments that positively combat workplace fears."

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