As layoff season kicks off, a quarter of all employees are experiencing bouts of anxiety, low energy, and sleep disruptions, while 23% of employees at companies that recently laid off employees are more aggressive with family and co-workers.
Media reports on layoffs in recent months are deepening anxiety levels among employees, many of whom are indulging in negative behaviours like binge drinking and shouting at family and co-workers.
A recent survey by Perceptyx also revealed the anxiety level is most among men (67%) and women (56%).
The level is very high in parents of young kids (72%) while it is lower among parents without any minor children at home (53%).
The study says the tendency is high among tech employees (84%) while the degree is less in retail and service employees (55%).
Sixty-six per cent hybrid employees and 59 per cent on-site employees (59%) are affected by the news.
According to the study, all employees are reporting a new onset of negative coping behaviours, whether they have experienced layoffs at their own company or have just heard about it at another company.
The survey report brings out the more disturbing trends. One out of every four employees report periods of anxiety, low energy, and sleep disruptions, and one in 10 said they have increased drinking or drug use and are exercising less as a result of layoff news.
More than 12% said they are more short-tempered and are snapping more at family or co-workers, a number which nearly doubles (to 23%) for those directly or indirectly impacted by layoffs.
“About two-thirds of employees are walking around today with a lot of anxiety, and that’s connected to a number of negative behaviours,” said Emily Killham, Director of Research & Insights at Perceptyx.
He added, “Organisations can’t control economic conditions, but they can strive to get continuous feedback, understand the roots of employees’ worries, and take action to calm these widespread anxieties.”
Clear and authentic communication may be the key to easing the negative outcomes of layoff anxiety. Employees become more worried by rumours of possible job cuts than they do with official communications about actual layoffs.
In workplaces where there were rumours of layoffs, 90 per cent admit to being worried, eight points higher than those who received official layoff communications. Employees who are prone to anxiety and depression could be most at risk. Those who describe themselves as more anxious or depressed than most people are 15% more likely to have some layoff anxiety than their peers.
Killham further said, “Without official communication, employees will share unofficial rumours. In the case of bad news, such as job losses, these rumours raise the worry level and subsequent negative outcomes significantly.”