Why Emotional Anxiety Is Costly

I was talking to one of our project managers a few days ago while trying to fix some issues in one of our remote data center and out of nowhere just asked how she was doing. While a typical “I’m doing good” answer may have been enough for a few people I know, I asked again, this time stressing out the real reason for asking. She then started down the path of telling me how the IT industry simply does not really care about the well-being of the individuals and is more focused on getting things done. Now, I might be wrong but I guess that is one of the reasons why her performance started going down the drains. I highlighted the fact that whatever industry we are in, we still are humans and have the basic human needs which includes emotional stability in the workplace. Ask yourself these questions. Would you be excited to come to work everyday knowing that you will have to face the same old Mr. Scrooge in the likes of your immediate superior? Would you be enthusiastic to do your work if none of the things you do well are getting noticed while even a small mistake goes across the end of the office premises (I think I’ve pointed this out in the “seagull-type” management style)? Would you be motivated enough to take initiative to solve problems in the workplace when all you’ll end up hearing is that you need to go thru processes to get things done? You may say that everybody should start motivating themselves and I couldn’t agree with you more. But what I am trying to drive at is that organizations need to realize that emotional anxiety in the workplace is one of the reasons for performance degredation and high turnover rates. Why did I say it’s costly? Let me put some numbers into this. Let’s say it takes an average of 30 minutes to finish a typical, repetitive task. For a highly motivated individual, it would probably take 15 to 20 minutes, which would mean a time reduction of 33 to 50 percent (others may call it productivity increase). But an unmotivated, highly-stressed, emotionally anxious individual may take more than an hour to finish the same job. That would mean a 100 percent decrease in productivity or whatever you may call it. That is not to consider absenteeism, long coffee and lunch breaks, employee turnover, etc. I am not a psychologist but I believe its a natural human need to feel important and have their emotional needs met anywhere, including the workplace. Which is why I believe that creating an emotionally healthy workplace will be one of the factors to succeed in a globally competitive environment.

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