Relax, it’s just a chair

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Imagine welcoming a new recruit, introducing them to the office, showing them the copier room, the kitchen, the toilets, and finally, their desk.

You invite them to take a seat… but they can’t. They have Kathisophobia - a fear of sitting down. Or more accurately, a phobia of being motionless.

Separate to feeling shy, a bit awkward, or not really liking creepy crawlies, a phobia is defined as a‘persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous’.

Having a phobia of spiders, or being trapped under water doesn’t really have any effect on workplace, but what about a fear of paper? Or a fear of lists?

A 2007 German based study found that work-related phobias are an increasing phenomenon, and indeed a pervasive anxiety disorder.

Indeed one in two workers on long-term sick leave has symptoms of work-related phobias, according to the study.

Leading the pack of work-place phobias is the fear of public speaking. And this doesn’t just mean blushing at the lectern, but actual feelings of vomit-inducing impending doom.

Some office workers are also freaked out by the usually barely noticeable workplace resource, paper. One wonders whether A4 or A3 is worse, and if it’s just loose sheets or books too?

So what can be done to alleviate the fears? Apparently the official prescription is to just get over it. Or in medical terms, practice “systematic desensitization”.

For example, if making a telephone call is what gives you heebyjeebees, you’re supposed to work towards the visualization of casually picking up the receiver to phone a friend, and slowly work towards making a business related call.

Next time an employee freaks out when you hand them a list, or sweats bullets when you tell them to meet you in your office, their beetroot complexion might be caused by one of these 10 work-related phobias:

1. Arithmophobia - fear of numbers.

2. Atychiphobia - fear of failure.

3. Cathisophobia - fear of sitting.

4. Chrematophobia - fear of money.

5. Cyberphobia - fear of computers.

6. Decidophobia- fear of making decisions.

7. Glossophobia - fear of public speaking.

8. Koinoniphobia- fear of rooms.

9. Papyrophobia - fear of paper.

10. Pinaciphobia - fear of lists.        


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