How OCD Can Impact Your Work Life: What You Need to Know

Do you have OCD? You may not even know it. Many people with OCD don’t realize that their thoughts and behaviors fall within the spectrum of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. If you are one of those people, it’s important to understand how OCD can impact your work life. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the ways that OCD can affect your productivity and performance at work. We will also provide some tips for managing OCD in the workplace.

What Is OCD At Workplace?

OCD At Workplace

OCD, popularly known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental health disorder that is characterized by obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are intrusive, unwanted thoughts that cause anxiety. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or rituals that a person feels compelled to do. This is done in order to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession.

OCD can manifest in many different ways and the symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Some people with OCD may have very noticeable compulsions, such as washing their hands excessively or checking things repeatedly. Others may have more subtle compulsions, such as avoiding certain numbers or colors. Still, others may not have any overt compulsions at all, but they may suffer from intense anxiety and rumination.

These symptoms affect all domains of life, including professional life. When you have OCD, it can be difficult to focus on your work tasks. Your intrusive thoughts may interfere with your concentration, and your compulsions may take up valuable time that could be used to complete your work. In severe cases, OCD can even lead to job loss.

Even in situations where OCD does not cause job loss, it can still have a significant impact on work performance. People with OCD may have difficulty meeting deadlines, completing tasks, or maintaining focus. They may also find it difficult to interact with co-workers or customers. In some cases, people with OCD may even avoid work altogether out of fear of triggering their symptoms.

It is important to note that OCD is not a choice. It is a mental health disorder that requires treatment. If you suffer from OCD, there are steps that you can take to manage your symptoms and minimize the impact of the disorder on your work life.

How Does It Manifest?

OCD has a variety of ways it can manifest in someone’s life, and for some people, that includes the workplace. It can present itself as an overwhelming need for order or fear of germs and contamination. For others, it might be an obsessive need to do things “just so” or an excessive focus on detail. There are a few key ways that OCD makes its way into your professional life. Some commonly observed examples include:

How Does It Manifest

  • Spending an excessive amount of time on a task or project: This might manifest as spending hours perfecting a presentation or report, re-checking and double-checking your work, or agonizing over small details that most people would let slide.
  • Needing things to be “just so” in order to feel comfortable starting or completing a task: This might look like needing your desk to be completely clear before you can start working, or feeling like you can’t leave the office until everything is in its place.
  • Avoiding work tasks that trigger your OCD: For some people with OCD, certain work tasks are particularly triggering. This might mean avoiding anything that involves germs or contamination, such as going on business trips or working with clients.
  • Feeling the need to ask for reassurance from others frequently: OCD can make a person doubt their abilities and feel like they can’t do anything without constantly seeking reassurance from others. This might manifest as asking a co-worker to check your work for errors or needing constant feedback on a project.
  • Difficulty delegating tasks or trusting others to do them properly: For people with OCD, delegating tasks can be difficult. They often feel like no one else will do them properly. This might mean micro-managing a team or being unwilling to let go of any aspect of a project. If left unmanaged it can lead to excessive stress and burnout.

While these behaviors may seem harmless at first, they can quickly become detrimental to your work life. When OCD starts impacting your ability to complete tasks and meet deadlines, it’s time to seek help.

What Are The Consequences?


Now that we are aware of some signs and ways that OCD might present itself in the workplace, it’s important to understand how it can affect your career. Here are some common consequences of untreated OCD at work:


Tardiness or absences from work

A lot of the time, people with OCD are late to work or absent because they are busy with compulsions or rituals. This can make them miss out on important assignments or opportunities. In extremely severe cases, people with OCD may even lose their job because of their condition. Moreover, they may also have difficulty concentrating on work or keeping a tidy workspace because of their compulsions. This can make them have delays and make more mistakes.


People with OCD often face discrimination at work. They may be passed over for promotions or not given challenging assignments because their employers think they cannot handle them. They may also have a tendency to be easy targets of office bullying. Another form of discrimination that people with OCD face is when they are not hired in the first place because of their condition. Even in situations wherein the candidate gets hired, there is always the possibility that their performance will be closely monitored by their employer, which can lead to anxiety and stress.

Decreased productivity

Even when people with OCD are able to make it to work on time, their compulsions can still interfere with their productivity. For example, someone with OCD might spend a lot of time washing their hands or organizing their desk, which takes away from time that could be spent working. Additionally, people with OCD may have difficulty concentrating on tasks or completing work if their obsessions are particularly distressing. People with OCD also often have a hard time concentrating on work tasks. As a result, they may make mistakes or have a hard time completing assignments.

Difficulty maintaining healthy relationships with co-workers

Often, people who don’t have any mental conditions like OCD are unable to understand what a person with OCD is going through. This can make it difficult to maintain healthy relationships with co-workers. People with OCD may also have difficulty trusting their co-workers, which can lead to conflict. Additionally, people with OCD may avoid socializing with their co-workers or participating in work events because of their fear of being around germs or other people. This can make them seem unfriendly or uninterested in their job, which can further damage relationships.

Avoidance of opportunities for advancement or networking

Due to the excessive amount of time spent on compulsions, people with OCD often miss out on opportunities for advancement or networking. This can further impact their career and make it difficult to move up in their field. OCD also accompanies a great deal of paranoia. This can further make it difficult for people with OCD to trust their co-workers or bosses. This can also lead to further isolation and feelings of being alone at work.


Lastly, the workplace can be a very stressful environment for people with OCD. They may feel like they have to constantly hide their condition from their co-workers and bosses. This can lead to a lot of anxiety and make it difficult to concentrate on work tasks. In addition to the social obligations, the pressure of meeting deadlines and completing assignments can also be very stressful for people with OCD.

These are just a few ways that OCD can impact your work life. If you or someone you know is struggling with OCD, it’s important to seek professional help. OCD can severely impact your work life and career if left untreated. However, with proper treatment, many people with OCD are able to lead successful and productive lives. If you think you may have OCD, talk to your doctor or mental health professional about getting evaluated for the condition. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in managing the symptoms of OCD.

How To Deal With OCD At Workplace?

While OCD at work can be difficult and challenging, there are things that you can do to manage your symptoms and make the workplace a more comfortable environment.

Some tips for dealing with OCD at work include:

How To Deal With OCD At Workplace

  • Talk to your boss or Human Resources department about your OCD. This can help to ensure that accommodations can be made in the workplace to help you manage your symptoms. This can happen through different types of workplace accommodations, such as having a private space to do compulsions or being able to take breaks as needed.
  • Be aware of your triggers. What are the things that trigger your OCD symptoms? Is it being around certain people or objects? Is it working on certain types of tasks? Once you know your triggers, you can try to avoid them as much as possible or further have a plan in place for how to deal with them if they ever do occur.
  • Make sure to stay on top of your OCD treatment. This may include taking medication as prescribed and attending therapy sessions. It’s important to keep up with your treatment plan in order to manage your symptoms and prevent them from interfering with your professional life.
  • Utilize your company’s EAP services. Many companies have Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that can provide you with counseling and other resources to help you deal with your OCD. This can be a great resource for finding support as well as managing your symptoms.
  • Make use of additional resources. In order to stay on top of your work commitments, it may be helpful to make use of additional resources like gadgets, apps, stationery items, etc. These can help you with organization and keeping track of deadlines.
  • Create a support system at work. This may include talking to a trusted co-worker about your OCD or joining a support group for people with mental health conditions. This can mean having someone to talk to about your challenges and knowing that you’re not alone in dealing with OCD at work.
  • Educate yourself and others about OCD. This can help to reduce the stigma around mental health conditions and help people understand what you’re going through. It can also be helpful to educate your boss and co-workers about your condition so that they can be more understanding and also accommodating.

OCD can be a difficult condition to live with, but there are ways to manage it. If you’re struggling with OCD at work, there are ways to manage the symptoms and make the workplace more comfortable. If you or someone you know is struggling with OCD at work, talk to a mental health professional about treatment options. With proper diagnosis and treatment, many people with OCD are able to lead successful as well as productive work lives.


In conclusion of the above, it is evident that OCD can have a significant and detrimental effect on an individual’s work life. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms in order to get the proper diagnosis and treatment. There are accommodations that can be made in the workplace as well as different things that an individual can do to manage their symptoms. With proper treatment, many people with OCD are able to lead successful lives.

If you or someone you know is struggling with OCD at work, feel free to reach out to us at Therapy Mantra. We have a team of expert mental health professionals who can help you manage your OCD. Our services are affordable, safe, and effective in treating our client’s psychological issues. You can visit our website to book an online therapy session or also download our free OCD treatment app on Android or iOS for more information.