Workplace Anxiety Is Not Always a Bad Thing, Study Says

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It was long known that anxiety at work can lower a person’s job performance, but a new study shows otherwise. Researchers at the University of Toronto believe that some anxiety at one’s workplace is not always that bad. Moreover, it can even boost the employees’ performance!

According to, it’s normal to face stress or anxiety at work. But when deadlines, co-workers, the management, changes and unexpected situations get too stressful, anxiety starts kicking in. Too much stress can impact the performance of the employees and even harm the relationship between their peers or superiors.

It’s Alright to Be a Little Anxious at Work

But the Journal of Applied Psychology has just published a study, according to which researchers found different results. They analyzed different triggers of anxiety at the workplace and how they impact the employees.

After including 19 theoretical situations to cover different aspects of anxiety (dispositional and situational), the researchers drew their conclusions.

It depends on each person if the anxiety at work will improve or worsen job performance, taking into account the person’s motivation, intelligence, and abilities. They think that a moderate amount of anxiety is good at boosting an employee’s performance, but only if they can adjust their behavior accordingly.

It Shows You’re “Motivated to Do the Job”

Lead author of the study and assistant professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Bonnie Hayden Cheng said that:

“Managing anxiety can be done by recognizing and addressing triggers of workplace anxiety, but also being aware of how to leverage it in order to drive performance. After all, if we have no anxiety and we just don’t care about performance, then we are not going to be motivated to do the job.”

Telling yourself to stop being anxious when you’re already feeling so overwhelmed is like trying to fall asleep, although you know that you’re feeling insomniac. Dealing with anxiety can be very challenging indeed and regardless of if you’re undergoing some form of therapy like here, or you’re trying to deal with everything by yourself, what you must do is understand that what you feel is real and your employers will not fire you if you acknowledge your issues. You just have to make the best out of them and learn to control stress. This will not be that hard to do, especially since it’s already been proved that such issues can actually boost productivity and performance.

Cheng’s study also includes some advice for organizations on how to help their employees to deal with stress and improve their performance. Among those strategies, she recommends that employees must get trained to have a boost of confidence, they must receive proper resources and tool to finish their tasks and offer the necessary guidance to help employees manage their stress.

Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.