How to Manage Performance Anxiety at Work
Work Wellness

How to Manage Performance Anxiety at Work

|Apr 24, 2021

Performance anxiety at work is a real thing, and especially if you are a highly sensitive person, anxiety can do a lot of harm to you. Even the greatest employees of all times and CEOs of big companies once had to deal with performance anxiety, and some of them still do.

If you are one of those who suffer from anxiety of going back to work or the constant fear of facing their boss, then remember one thing: "all bosses were employees once," and almost all employees go through performance anxiety at work.

While work anxiety could be a good thing leading you to be extra careful with your work, thus reducing the probability of error, it could also be damaging if not managed properly. Having too much anxiety at work has many downsides, and it also shakes self-confidence.

If you feel like a part of the anxious clan, then don't worry; almost 56% of the employees feel that anxiety affects their work, yet only 1/3rd take it seriously. There is no reason you should ignore performance anxiety at work and let it worsen over time. This article contains some basic tips and guides to overcome performance anxiety at work like a boss.

What Is Performance Anxiety?

It is natural for the human body to generate responses and signals whenever we incur a stressful situation. Although every day at work is not stressful, some people still feel too overwhelmed and anxious at work. They fear their bosses and colleagues judging them for making a mistake that they haven't even done yet. Ironic enough?

Performance anxiety is a serious issue in the workplace because it compromises a person's self-perception and damages their performance. The time spent worrying leads to even more anxiety as the undone work remains the same or even starts to look bigger with time. While it is easy to say, to get over it, the real thing is performance anxiety is not just in your head.


Yes, a common misconception related to anxiety and nervousness is that it all happens inside the brain. Still, people who have panic attacks and such episodes, witness their world crippling in front of their eyes, and it's no joke.

Performance anxiety at work comes with various mental and physical symptoms which worsen the situation and prepares the human mind to imagine worse than the real situation. If you experience any of these situations, then chances are you have work performance anxiety:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Irritation
  • Loss of confidence
  • Not being able to perform simple tasks
  • Underestimating yourself

Why Do Employees Get Nervous At Work?

Remember when you were young and out for a picnic with your family. Suddenly you felt you would drown in the pool, but you knew you could swim. Just until you could get back your grip or someone helped you realize it, you underestimate yourself. The same is the case with performance anxiety at work.

Performance anxiety at work is not the result of being not good enough, but it happens because an employee underestimates themselves. Most of the time, they think about achieving perfection and assume they cannot do it.

Perhaps 86% of the workers feel the extra need to please and prove to their higher management that they can work. Of course, you can. That is why you were hired!


If you get anxious at the workplace, the first question is, is it me or the job? If it's you, then stop selling yourself short, and if it's the job, you can still do something about it.

Sometimes you could be in a toxic workplace; your boss could be a really angry person who cannot bother with the tiniest of mistake or give enough room to be a human, or a tough report could send shivers down everyone's spine. But the great thing is, there are some things to remember that help you overcome performance anxiety at work (tried and tested).

How to Deal With Performance Anxiety

There are several guides on the internet, and even hour-long YouTube videos that teach about how to manage performance anxiety at work but not all of them work. Or maybe you have tried various stress-reducing apps to find the solution to your anxiety as well.

If you are watching such videos and finding these solutions, then you wish to overcome performance anxiety at all costs. For starters, it is okay to have job performance anxiety, and that is no reason to beat yourself up.

Secondly, the good news is you can manage and deal with performance anxiety and be your best self at work. With the help of simple tips and tricks and things to remember (whenever you have anxiety at work), this job performance anxiety can be controlled.

how to deal

1. The first thing when it comes to dealing with anxiety at work is to start with physical tension. In intense situations, it is common to clench your jaw, tense your shoulders or even get those frown lines on your forehead.

Releasing physical tension is the first step to overcome anxiety. Start by sitting peacefully or even having an ergonomic chair that relaxes your muscles or practise mediation at your work desk to regain your peace. If you have a standing desk, you can do various stretched to regain your mind and body balance.

2. Once you have let go of the physical tension, come to soothe your mind. Rather than talking negatively to yourself, speak and think positive. Our mind is the strongest warrior, and if you train mind over matter, you can win every situation easily.

3. Before you begin a huge task, try dividing it into millstones and break it down into simpler mini-tasks.

Then remember to take a few minutes to break after achieving each milestone. Rewarding yourself a little me-time or a time away from your screen is the way to keep yourself focused and accomplish more.

4. Lastly, organization leaders can also help employees deal with performance anxiety at work by introducing the hybrid workforce model and other ways to distribute and manage the workload.


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