HR · 31 October 2017

Britain’s employees reveal their five scariest workplace tasks

Giving negative feedback is the scariest task of all

With Halloween striking fear into employees across the country, Business Advice can reveal which are the scariest workplace tasks frightening Britain’s office workers.

Having to give negative feedback to a colleague scares workers more than any other task they’re asked to do at work. A survey has found that 53 per cent of office employees admitted that it’s the worst thing they’ve been asked to do.

Many people are also nervous to talk on the phone in front of co-workers. The research revealed that “making a phone call” was considered the second most scary workplace task, with 36 per cent of office workers finding making work phone calls a nightmare.

In fact, one in five respondent workers admitted to ignoring having to make phone calls in the hope the task would eventually go away.

The research, conducted by small business call platform Powwownow, uncovered the other scariest workplace tasks that most make employees anxious and afraid.

Two thirds of respondents said they were afraid to call in sick to work for fear of not being believed, whilst 52 per cent said that the prospect of asking for a promotion or pay rise made them “very anxious”.

When asked how they’d like to be helped to overcome their workplace worries, 66 per cent of workers said that regular communication amongst staff and managers was key.

In addition, clear policies around contractual requirements to do with sick leave, for example, would help lower much of the anxiety associated with being an employee.

Five scariest tasks for office workers

(1) Giving negative feedback to a colleague

(2) Making a phone call in front of colleagues

(3) Presenting to colleagues

(4) Explaining you’ve missed a target to a manager

(5) Having to say no to a client or customer

Commenting on the scariest workplace tasks of office workers, managing director at Powwownow, Jason Downes, said that more needed to be done to help staff face their fears.

“Today’s professionals rightly consider their wellbeing and work-life balance as top priorities, and businesses need to start providing environments that support these,” he added.

“Giving regular updates on company policies around sick leave and flexible working will create environments that positively combat workplace fears.”

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

Work and Wellbeing