Workers do not leave their emotions at home, so employers who offer support that extends to their well-being outside the workplace may reap benefits during working hours.
That is the conclusion of research being presented today, January 2014, to the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society's Division of Occupational Psychology in Brighton.
Rob Bailey and Tatiana Gulko from OPP Ltd asked 1212 people from the UK and the Republic of Ireland - a gender-balanced sample representative of the workforce as a whole - to complete a range of measures examining their personalities, work outcomes and lifestyle choices.
The researchers found a close relationship between respondents' levels of anxiety and other important factors.
People with low anxiety and who were emotionally stable were more likely to be ambitious, to say that they were happy, healthy and lucky, and to say that they were satisfied with their relationship. They were also more likely to receive promotions and to take positions of leadership outside work.
People with high anxiety were more likely to report that they had taken time off through tiredness or boredom.
A second study of 49 people from across the world found that anxious people were more likely to be defensive and experience feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.
Rob Bailey says:
"It is unrealistic for employers to expect employees to leave their emotions at home, especially employees who are not so emotionally stable. Workplace support is likely to help to improve people's engagement with their jobs and to reduce staff turnover and absence.
"The employer prepared to offer interventions such as employee assistance programmes, which typically offer advice that extends to employee well-being outside the work place, may find that they reap the benefits during work hours."