Firms ignoring employee anxieties about workplace communications

UK companies are failing to support employees suffering with work-related performance anxiety, the business world’s equivalent to stage fright, despite it being a regular occurrence for many workers, according to new research. RADA Business, the commercial subsidiary of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art which provides communication skills training for corporate individuals, has published the report Beating Workplace Performance Anxiety, which surveyed 1000 workplaces. The report found that, on average, workers report feeling anxious at least once a week (five times per month). Despite this, few workplaces act effectively to counter incidents of workplace communications anxiety. Only 13 percent of people surveyed said that anxieties round communicating in the workplace are picked up and resolved by the management team.

As well as the personal impact of these anxieties, the report also found that this problem could also have a major impact on business performance. 1 in 5 (20 percent) workers admitted to being less productive and the same number also confessed to calling in sick at work to avoid anxiety-inducing situations, such as difficult meetings or performance reviews. Almost 1 in 5 (18 percent) say that work colleagues who are anxious about communicating make them feel anxious too, as the listener.

Adrian Kirk, Tutor at RADA Business, commented on the findings: “It’s concerning to see how many UK workers aren’t getting the support they need to tackle feelings of anxiety around communicating at work. These findings highlight the urgent need for more awareness from businesses, and more strategies to support their employees in this area. We’re convinced that organisations work most effectively when everyone has a voice – and we’re committed to giving people the skills to get themselves heard. Techniques inspired by acting training can be effective at tackling performance anxiety in the workplace. Managing nerves and their physical effects can help release the build-up of tension and enable us to access our best self in the workplace.”

Image: Andrew E Larsen

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