Our Comprehensive Guide to Ergophobia

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Money Savings Advice Guide to ergophobia

Those who suffer from ergophobia have a genuine phobia of work, the workplace and employment. There is a big difference between a fear and a phobia. Fear prompts an emotional response to a real threat with the “fight or flight” phenomenon kicking in.

A phobia prompts the same emotional response, but this creates such high anxiety that the physical/mental impact on the individual can be extreme. Very often, the perceived threat is not real or unlikely to happen.

While many will look at the subject of ergophobia and suggest this is just individuals who are “workshy” - they could not be further from the truth. There are many reasons why people develop ergophobia, and thankfully there are ways of controlling it, although it is difficult to erase.

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Is Ergophobia an Actual Fear of Working?

In reality, ergophobia is more akin to a fear of the working environment and both the physical and mental pressures this can bring. Some people who suffer from ergophobia have a number of issues which have merged to create this fear of the unknown.

Yes, those who suffer from ergophobia do have a genuine fear even though they often know the fear is unreal.

Is It Possible to Work With Ergophobia?

The best way to tackle ergophobia is to work backwards and try to see which elements of the workplace, actual work or the working culture have created this unnatural fear.

This may include:-

Fear of Public Speaking

While some people appear born to speak in public, the vast majority of people do get nervous and extremely anxious if asked to speak in front of a crowd. In many ways this is natural, but perhaps those not suffering from ergophobia use this adrenaline to get through the ordeal.

Fear of Failure

The reality is that nobody wants to fail but, those with ergophobia may suffer from acute anxiety when given tasks which are perhaps challenging but nonetheless within their grasp. The fear, the anxiety and the physical/mental torture can incapacitate many when attempting to do their work.

Fear of Socialising

Many workplaces encourage a degree of socialising between staff where there can be some joyful banter and leg-pulling. Unfortunately, not everybody will appreciate this type of banter, and it can prompt a volatile involuntary reaction from those suffering from ergophobia.

This might see them leaving the building, breaking down in tears or in some cases prompting a panic attack.

What Are the Symptoms of Ergophobia?

There are numerous symptoms associated with ergophobia, which include excessive sweating, dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness, dizziness and panic attacks. It is extremely challenging for sufferers because a rapid heartbeat can then lead to excessive sweating which can then increase anxiety with the individual feeling everybody is watching them – a vicious circle can emerge!

Is There a Link Between Ergophobia and Burnout?

The human brain is an extremely powerful tool, and various research projects have spotted a strong link between ergophobia and burnout, especially common in teachers. There are many careers where individuals are literally pushed to the limit and sometimes beyond.

If you think of it like an elastic band, there is a limit at which it will snap back into place. If you go beyond that limit, then it will begin to break up and eventually snap. The snap-in this situation would be an actual mental block associated with the workplace and the development of ergophobia.

Do Income Protection Schemes Cover Ergophobia?

It is unlikely that an income protection scheme would specifically cover ergophobia, but if this could be diagnosed as some form of anxiety that may be different. Anxiety disorder is a recognised medical condition, and if this was to impact your ability to work, then there’s a good chance you could claim a portion of your earnings each month.

When we look at personal injury claims, it is worth noting that the courts now consider physical injuries and mental injuries on a par. As a consequence, it may be worth pursuing your claim for income protection payments if you are unable to attend work.

What Is an Income Protection Policy?

An income protection policy is a type of insurance which will cover an element of your wage in the event that you are unable to work as a consequence of illness/injury. The vast majority of workplace sick pay schemes will only pay statutory sick pay which is around £95 a week, leaving many people short of funds to pay their bills and everyday expenses.

Therefore, long-term income protection can give you peace of mind in the event that you were to develop an illness/injury, which prevented you from working.

Is Income Protection Known by Any Other Name?

If you’re looking towards income protection to subsidise your reduced income in the event of illness/injury, it is often referred to by different names. These include:-

  • Accident and sickness cover
  • Sick pay insurance
  • Critical illness cover

While there are various different strands to income protection, in very basic terms, it is a means of subsidising your income in the event of illness/injury stopping you from working.

Should I Visit My Doctor if Suffering From Ergophobia?

If you have an illness/injury, it is very important to visit your doctor as soon as possible so that you can be diagnosed. As we touched on above, issues such as ergophobia may come under the general anxiety banner.

Therefore, you would have more chance of a successful income protection claim if you’re issues were “anxiety-based” as opposed to straightforward ergophobia. In reality, there is room for medical interpretation when it comes to anxiety and various phobias.

Will I Ever Work Again if Suffering From Ergophobia?

As we touched on above, there are various strands to ergophobia which incorporate a fear of the workplace, colleagues, projects, etc. So if for example, you were able to work from home without bringing on ergophobia, then this may well be an option.

Alternatively, reduced hours or a staggered return to work may help to reduce initial anxiety and slowly improve your coping mechanism. It is not the end of the world!

Do I Need Income Protection Insurance?

As we touched on above, ergophobia may not specifically be covered by income protection insurance, but as it is a form of anxiety you may be able to obtain cover. The income protection insurance market is extremely competitive, and we have seen the emergence of specialist income protection insurance companies. However, finding a policy would perfectly suit your specific requirements is not always easy.

Should I Speak With an Income Protection Insurance Broker?

The Internet has certainly opened up the financial markets to the masses, although unfortunately not all published information is correct (or up to date). As a consequence, more and more people are now looking towards insurance brokers for advice about issues such as income protection insurance.

These are experts in the field of income protection with contacts and an ability to negotiate often better terms than those published on the Internet. You also tend to find that an insurance broker will more than pay their way when it comes to costs compared to improved terms/conditions.

What Are Tied Insurance Brokers and Independent Insurance Brokers?

As the term suggests, a tied insurance broker is restricted to the number of parties whom they can deal with when seeking income protection insurance. An independent insurance broker has access to the full market when seeking the best terms and conditions.

At first glance, you may wonder why any party would look to use the services of a tied insurance broker. The fact that they are able to channel significant business through a small number of partners often means they have significant negotiating powers.

As a consequence, there is no reason why they could not negotiate the same or even improved terms compared to their independent insurance counterparts. Take nothing for granted when looking for income protection insurance!

How Much Do Insurance Brokers Cost?

In recent times we have seen significant changes in the way that insurance brokers are remunerated and the level of transparency. All third party relations must be disclosed before any agreement is signed with a new client. When it comes to actual charges they tend to come in three distinct structures:-

  • Charge to the client
  • Commission from an insurance company
  • A mixture of the two

Whichever charging structure your insurance broker prefers, this will be disclosed well in advance of any work carried out on your behalf. Failure to do so is a direct breach of regulations, and you may be able to see compensation as a consequence.

Should Insurance Products Be Included in My Annual Financial Review?

Time and time again, we see many people treating insurance policies, finances and assets in isolation. The reality is income protection insurance is one of many types of cover which are directly related to your specific financial situation. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to review your insurance cover when you look at your finances as a whole.

It is also worth remembering that income protection insurance requirements in your 30s may vary significantly to that required in your 40s and 50s. Therefore, it is very important to adapt your insurance cover as and when your financial/personal situation changes.


While many people would describe ergophobia as “work shyness” it is nothing of the kind. It is an anxiety-based phobia where specific scenarios and situations can take on a life of their own. They are often seen as a threat when, in reality, there is no threat.

One expert once described phobias as “a situation where your brain needs to be rewired” because certain experiences in the past have prompted ingrained natural reactions of both a physical and mental nature.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With an Income Protection Insurance?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Income Protection Insurance brokers. They have already helped thousands of people get the best Income Protection Insurance cover and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent adviser means they won’t recommend a scheme unless they are sure it is in your best interests. Their advice is also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these brokers who can provide you with a ‘whole market quote’ then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.


Money Savings Advice Author Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Mark has been writing professionally for over ten years for the financial sector. Having started in the financial world as a stock-broker in central London and then moving to equities trader Mark is one of our senior financial writers who has a vast knowledge of multiple financial sectors.

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