Thursday, July 31, 2014 · 3:36 p.m.
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Although being attacked by a zombie isn't a huge fear for most workers, making mistakes tops the list of workplace fears. (Photo: MGNOnline)

Just in time for Halloween, a new workplace survey gauged employee fears, and making an error on the job topped the list of things workers nationwide think are the most scary.

Kevin Green, with Chattanooga's Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of staffing agency Robert Half International, said that fear makes sense. Accountemps, which is a division of Robert Half International, conducted the survey. 

"What’s behind fear of making an error? It’s job security," he said.

And that is especially important in a difficult economy. 

Twenty-eight percent of people who responded to the survey said their biggest fear is making a mistake.

How to prevent workplace fears

—Communication is key to avoiding almost all the fears that topped the survey, Green said. 

—To avoid making a mistake, employees should understand exactly what a manager expects of them, and that takes communication. 

—Keeping the lines of communication open throughout the project will also help prevent mistakes. 

—Communication can also prevent conflicts. 

—To overcome the fear of speaking in public, Green suggested a lot of practice. 

Next, 18 percent said they are scared of difficult consumers or clients, and 15 percent said they are afraid of conflicts with a manager. 

Speaking in front of a group of people scares 13 percent of workers. Another 13 percent said conflicts with co-workers are their biggest fear. 

Three percent of respondents said they have no fears. 

Even though economic indicators, such as home sales, unemployment rates and consumer confidence indexes, seem to show at least small improvements—the presidential election seems to keep fears in a holding pattern, Green said. 

The national unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate is the lowest since January 2009, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The latest Tennessee numbers show that unemployment in the state rose from a July revised rate of 8.4 percent to 8.5 percent in August, according to numbers released by the state in late September, according to archives. 

The national unemployment rate fell in August from 8.3 to 8.1 percent, but it fell because more discouraged workers stopped looking for work, according to Nooga.com archives.

Home sales locally have been relatively strong in recent months, and nationwide activity has increased

"What we are hearing is a little bit of uncertainty," Green said. "Businesses are sitting on their hands for a variety of reasons."

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