Anxiety at Work Book Summary - Anxiety at Work Book explained in key points
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Anxiety at Work summary

Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton with Anthony Gostick

8 Strategies to Help Teams Build Resilience, Handle Uncertainty, and Get Stuff Done

4.2 (199 ratings)
24 mins
Table of Contents

    Anxiety at Work
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    Younger workers are feeling besieged by events beyond their control.

    How do you respond to uncertainty? Like many of us, you probably feel anxious when you don’t know what the future holds. For today’s workforce, this has become a big problem because the modern workplace is full of the unknown. The key is for leaders to try and minimize uncertainty where they can – and help their employees cope when they can’t. 

    So what’s the cause of this uncertainty? It all comes down to job insecurity. Nearly two-thirds of American workers report being concerned about the future of their jobs. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has destabilized many jobs, but these fears have their roots in earlier events, too. The younger generation is still affected by the financial crisis of 2008, as well as the prospect of robots and automation taking over their roles.

    The key message here is: Younger workers feel besieged by events beyond their control.

    Sadly, a lot of millennial workers also feel exploited. They’ve funded their own education and qualifications, typically accruing student debt in the process. But even after doing all of this, their reward is often insecure, freelance, or contract-based work. Why? Because this is the labor arrangement that works best for the capital-owning bosses. As a result, millennials feel replaceable at any time.

    This uncomfortable reality leads to predictably high anxiety levels. Some social commentators have even christened millennials as “Generation Paranoia.” Younger workers are constantly looking over their shoulders at the competition and feel forced to work harder and longer than ever before. This is the real reason why workers feel the need to be “always on” and always available.

    How can leaders help to reduce their employees’ anxiety levels, and the uncertainty that drives it? Well, in many cases, they can do nothing about the uncertainty. The exciting, yet challenging reality is that, across almost every industry, disruption is happening at breakneck speed. So change and uncertainty are here to stay.

    But leaders aren’t completely helpless; they can still help their teams navigate this uncertainty. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, optometrist firm FYidoctors was forced to close almost all its clinics. This threw its entire workforce into panic and disarray. But the senior leadership team was determined to be transparent about what was happening. During daily briefing sessions over Zoom, the leadership team told their staff about any new changes and issues that had occurred, and what they were planning to do about them. In time, the mood in the company changed from panic and confusion to mutual understanding, and everyone in the company felt a lot less anxious.

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    What is Anxiety at Work about?

    Anxiety at Work (2021) explores how the modern workplace contributes to our soaring anxiety levels. It outlines how organizations, and team leaders, can help alleviate their employees’ worries and concerns.

    Who should read Anxiety at Work?

    • Anyone interested in organizational psychology
    • Stressed-out employees looking for some perspective
    • Managers hoping to give employee well-being a boost

    About the Author

    Adrian Gostick is a British author who specializes in organizational psychology. He’s also the founder of the Utah-based consulting firm The Culture Works.

    Chester Elton is a Canadian author and management strategist. He specializes in boosting employee motivation. They’re also the authors of several other titles, including the New York Times best sellers The Carrot Principle, All In, and Leading with Gratitude.

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