The Economy is Creating Anxiety for Workers

Workplace Insight

According to the United States Department of Labor, Americans, today, are more concerned about job security than they are about the nation’s security, war on terror, healthcare, or education. Our sense of well-being is anchored in the ability to perform a job that enables us to provide for our families and ourselves; a job that we can depend on. At the beginning of the current economic crisis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 10 million Americans were unemployed, 2.6 million jobs were lost in 2008 alone, and the first quarter of 2009 was expected to be much worse.  We look at the situation now and see that some of the forecasts held true as we entered into what has been called the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. These shocking statistics are also quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and Business Week.

Layoffs are a natural response for employers as they struggle to sustain in the face of this heightened recession. Many people have lost trust in the institutions that are supposed to provide a healthy level of stability and certainty in our lives—our government, our banks, and the companies we work for. We are living in an anxious world, as employers and employees. Unfortunately, sustained levels of anxiety make it harder for people to concentrate and process information, significantly hindering job performance. Anxiety is also infectious, particularly in the workplace, where one employee’s feelings of job insecurity can escalate to collective hysteria.

In these times of a harsh, economic reality, and all the fear that comes with it, companies have a moral and fiscal responsibility to ground employees in reality so they stay focused and productive in the workplace. The goal is to bring employees along on the journey, preparing them for the difficult decision that management may have to make. In order to achieve that goal, communication is a must. The foundation to diminishing the anxiety and the uncertainty is to facilitate the flow of information between employer and employee within the company. When both employers and employees are on the same page, anxiety will be less.

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