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How Tackling Social Anxiety can Help You at Work


While most of our working days are filled with work-related tasks, the social aspect often plays a big part too. When people are worried about being judged negatively, it can make them dread going to work or (if it’s a choice) be less willing to go into the office. This is because social interactions can feel awkward, unbearable or difficult.

Here are some ways that social anxiety can affect you at work:

Performance anxiety

This is any situation where you worry about looking or sounding incompetent, or that others (especially those in authority, like your manager) could evaluate you. This could lead to high anxiety about:

  • Applying for jobs
  • Going to job interviews
  • Starting a new job
  • Getting a promotion
  • Being asked to do something you’re not completely confident about, like public speaking or working on a tricky task
  • Receiving feedback on your work

Conversations with colleagues

Often small talk about non-related work topics come up during more coffee breaks, lunchtimes, milling around at the start or end of the day, celebrating birthdays or farewelling staff. Colleagues could ask how you are, talk about weekend plans, your family or friends, hobbies or how you intend to spend your breaks. For people who worry about others thinking they’re boring, strange or have nothing interesting to say, these scenarios can trigger a lot of nervousness.

Being assertive

Communicating assertively is a life skill we can all find hard, but even more so for people who are socially anxious. They can lean toward being more passive, and later regret it as they didn’t get the outcome they wanted.

Situations requiring assertiveness include:

  • Asking for help
  • Speaking up in a meeting
  • Asking a boss for time off work
  • Giving your honest opinion, making a suggestion, giving feedback, disagreeing with others or saying no to a colleague. 

Social Anxiety Checklist

Do you find yourself being anxious in these situations? Can you relate to the fear they can bring on? Would you like to learn helpful strategies so you can:

  • Enter the workplace or get the kind of job you want?
  • Enjoy being at work more?
  • Face performance situations more confidently?
  • Go to social functions and stay there longer?
  • Chat with colleagues freely and comfortably?
  • Get along better or build relationships with your workmates?
  • Speak up in a meeting or group of other people?
  • Ask questions, give your opinion or suggest an idea?
  • Communicate clearly when speaking with those in authority?

If so, sign up to our online program for Social Anxiety where you can learn a range of techniques which you can apply to the workplace.


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