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Workplace FOMO: Fear of Missing Out at Work


FOMOA few years ago the term FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) emerged, whose acronym means “fear of missing something”. This phenomenon was associated with the digital world and consists of the fear that others are enjoying experiences that I am missing.

It was born with the “boom” of social networks, which caused us to have the need to be continuously connected to check that we were not missing any rewarding experience or social interaction.

All this gives rise to fear such as that of exclusion. Nobody likes to feel left out and wanting to be accepted by others is natural. Since it refers to social identity. We are part of different social groups and we want to be recognized by each of them (family, friends, work, etc.)

Circumstances change and fears too. So, with this new situation of telecommuting, that fear of missing something has been transferred to the world of work and many people want to return to the office.

What is workplace FOMO?

It is a fear that manifests itself as feelings of insecurity about your effectiveness and efficiency at work. By not being physically present, we can have the feeling that we are missing out on work aspects, so we can feel less useful and valid than others and thus be afraid of losing our job.

This fear is due to the fact that being in a physical work environment on a daily basis and interacting with co-workers and bosses provides us with a series of positive reinforcements about our achievements and worth. Therefore, with teleworking, not being in direct contact with the different work stimuli, feelings of insecurity appear because we no longer perceive the approval and acceptance of others. All this has led to the need to return to the office as soon as possible.

Is it an irrational fear?

At first we all felt a bit insecure and lost with teleworking, since it was not something usual in our lives. Over time, we have been adapting to these new circumstances without it being a major concern. However, when this insecurity and fear is something that recurs over time, we would be talking about an irrational fear.

How to overcome workplace FOMO?

Some strategies that companies can take to reduce this fear are:

  • Go to the office 1 or 2 days a week: the fact of going to the office one day helps us to be more connected with the work environment. Yes, it is also always the same day of the week, better because that is how we create a routine.
  • Hold meetings during the week through videoconferences so as not to lose contact and not have the feeling of disconnection with colleagues.
  • In the event that the fear or the feeling of missing something is persistent over time despite the above strategies, it would be advisable to go to a professional to help us identify why these symptoms could be appearing and thus work on strengthening our security despite the loss of contact with other people.

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