People suffer from myriad phobias, from fears of tight spaces and spiders to some more uncommon problems, such as fears of paper. Though they might be rare and difficult to imagine suffering from, these (and even stranger fears) do exist. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly challenging for people who experience these anxieties to get by in the professional world. These five examples are a few of the many phobias that can totally interrupt someone’s job.
Most people don’t like the sight of a spider, but others have a much deeper fear of these animals. Arachnophobia is a deep fear of spiders, scorpions, and other arachnids. A fear of arachnids and what they’re capable of (warning, there is a spider in that link!) is totally natural. But some people may suffer from arachnophobia so intense that they fear any dark spaces where a spider may be hiding, such as under a desk. Discover what type of spiders and pests live in your area and how to keep them away.
Papyrophobia is an uncommon but very real fear for those who suffer from it. People may be afraid of getting a paper cut, but someone with papyrophobia may also experience anxiety by touching, using, or even looking at paper. Papyrophobia and other specific phobias can make it exceedingly difficult for a person who suffers these fears to function in an office setting.
You might not like making calls and speaking to strangers, but for people who suffer telephobia, answering the phone is far more upsetting. These individuals may be so afraid of answering the phone or making a call that they experience shortness of breath and an elevated heart rate. To compensate, they may pass the task of making calls onto other workers or even turn down a promotion if it involves more phone use. Telephobia is a type of social anxiety that involves a deep fear of worst-case scenarios.
Claustrophobia is a phobia that most people are familiar with. People who suffer this are so afraid of confined spaces that they may have trouble working in a cubicle or getting supplies from a closet. If an office job requires taking an elevator, a worker with claustrophobia won’t even be able to clock in without encountering extreme anxiety.
Emetophobia is the fear of vomiting. For people who suffer this phobia, reading the word “vomit” or hearing someone choke or gag can cause immense anxiety and the fear of getting sick. This phobia is usually related to something besides the actual act of vomiting, such as social embarrassment. An emetophobic person may have trouble eating outside of their home or being in a place where they can’t see a trash can or bathroom. The anxiety of getting sick in front of people, such as during a board meeting, may make them unable to focus in certain situations.
The root cause behind some of these fears can be hard to pin down, but there’s no doubt that they can be challenging to live with in the workplace. Employers, do what you can to make the office a better place for these individuals. Workers, voice your concerns when needed. Many employers would be more than happy to make an accommodation for your fear.