Social Anxiety in the Workplace
Definition and Analysis of the problem
Approximately 15 million American adults have been diagnosed with social anxiety according to NIH, The National Institute of Health. This is not the most severe case of anxiety, nor the largest sector, but it is one of the easiest to define, understand and treat. Social Anxiety is the “intense, persistent, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of doing things that will embarrass them” (NIH 1). This disorder is common in many people and many situations, but becoming more prevalent in the workplace. At work, this anxiety can happen during any one of the common activities, business lunches, daily meetings or networking and client interaction. This is proved by the Social presence theory presented in our textbook, it concludes that the more social interaction once has, the more acclimated they become and therefore has a more social presence. But what is happening in our present day society is that more phone calls are made rather then lunches, more emails are exchanged, causing the employee to be isolated from the face-face interaction one needs to effectively communicate and bring in future clients (DeVito 198). According to Technical Communication Today, virtual offices will become a much more common occurrence, making it mandatory for employees to learn how to effectively work with others. This can be difficult because it takes time to work through ones social anxiety issues, and while the business world is slowly integrating technology and new advances, so should the employee. Although advances in technology can be a god thing their has also been some struggles found including, the lack of non-verbal cues (smiles, shrugs, scowls) and the level of misunderstanding because they people are not actually I the same room most of the time. So this requires the employees to meet ahead of time, practicing time management, which is a crucial step, so everything goes well in the virtual meeting (Johnson-Sheehan #). Informal communication which is the “unofficial type taking place among staff as face-to-face or telephone interaction” is the type of communication that is gradually slipping through our fingers to a much more advanced business environment. But this is the original workplace environment where people thrived because they were forced into personal interactions and meetings (Altinoz 217). During a meeting with a future client or during a sales meeting the symptoms that may arise from the anxiety include racing heart, turning red or blushing and sometimes even trembling occurs (NIH 1). Forbes might be convinced that “the fear of public speaking ranks higher than the fear of death,” (Adams 1) however with the tools and solutions we propose, those symptoms will be gone before you know it. The solution options to social anxiety vary greatly, however the three best solutions were found to be were a mentoring program, a company retreat and workplace networking. By implementing these into the daily routines of yourself and your employees in the workplace, they will feel more comfortable with one another; they will become more confident in their work, hopefully curing themselves of their social anxiety.
Solutions that help deal with social anxiety in the workplace must meet certain guidelines in order to help those affected overcome their fears and social phobias. These guidelines help evaluate the proposed solutions for workplace anxiety by weighing the costs and rewards of each solution and by putting them into a plausible perspective for the employees. The criteria for solution options should first and foremost reduce the overall problem and yield positive results, therefore minimizing the amount of social phobias between coworkers. Without this protocol, one cannot successfully overcome his or her social anxiety, leaving the problem...
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