University of Toronto Scarborough and Rotman School of Management professors uncovered that anxiety in the workplace is linked with lower job performance and can be affected by relationships between co-workers.
The team’s focus was on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and found high levels of emotional exhaustion stem from job environment anxiety, which can directly link to worsened job performance.
Professor John Trougakos said, “Workplace anxiety is a serious concern not only for employee health and well-being, but also for an organization’s bottom-line.”
Police officers in general experience high levels of stress with many of their job duties. With the added stress from job duties, it can be difficult to continue to serve and protect at high-level performance.
The study involved surveys from 267 (RCMP) officers. Aside from low job performance, researchers also uncovered relationships with co-workers and superiors of good quality can further help reduce anxiety associated with job responsibilities.
Co-workers can offer empathetic support in order to foster a positive work environment. Such relationships work to build trust and meet the emotional needs of the individual.
Professor Julie McCarthy said, “Our findings highlight the importance of programs that allow employees to recover, build resilience and develop strong social support networks in the workplace.”
A recent survey revealed that 41 percent of people – in a variety of occupations – experience anxiety in the workplace. McCarthy hopes the findings stress the importance of strong social ties in any workplace as a means of lowering stress and anxiety.
McCarthy concluded, “Our hope is that this research will trigger conversations among other organizations about the debilitating effects of a stressed-out workplace, and the importance of developing strategies to help workers cope with workplace anxiety.”
The findings were published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.