Resilience and leadership adviser Mike Conway said a 2018 study by Medibio tallied the lost hours of productivity and working time for Australian businesses directly resulting from anxiety at up to 100,000 hours annually.
The flow-on effects from this immediate loss of work time can be strains on professional relationships and limited career progression for individuals, while their employers take a hit to lost work time, higher rates of sick leave and reduced productivity.
“Anxiety is often linked with a self-induced fear of failure — which can be detrimental in a professional setting,” explained Mr Conway.
“As we spend a third of our lives at work, it’s no surprise that it’s a prime environment for anxiety.”
He suggested that the modern nature of work, with competing deadlines, constant pressure and an “always-on” mentality can be “immobilising” for people suffering from anxiety.
“A fear of disappointment is what hinders most people from asking for help – which is where our leaders come in,” Mr Conway said.
“An anxious leader cannot expect anything other than anxious followers. We need leaders with high emotional intelligence who are fine-tuned not just to take care of themselves, but are also fully aware of the impact they have on others.”