5 Strategies to Manage OCD at Work

Learn 5 practical strategies to effectively manage Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) symptoms while at work. Improve your productivity and reduce workplace stress with these proven techniques.

By URLife Team
02 May 2023

Imagine being trapped in a prison of your own thoughts, unable to come over intrusive ideas that consume your every waking moment. This is the reality for those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a debilitating mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. From obsessively washing hands repeatedly to arranging your work desk, the symptoms of OCD can be both exhausting and all-consuming. Despite its prevalence, OCD remains widely misunderstood, often leading to stigma and shame for those who struggle with it.


Related story: Learn Stress Management With UR.Life To Combat Micro-stress


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Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a mental health condition defined by unwanted and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviours (compulsions) that are often carried out in order to alleviate anxiety or distress. It compels individuals to perform or meet their urges. These thoughts and behaviours can significantly interfere with daily life and can be difficult to control. OCD is considered a type of anxiety disorder, and while it can be treated with therapy and medication, it is a chronic condition that can be difficult to manage if left untreated.


OCD Affects The Work-Life

At the workplace, OCD can lead to difficulty concentrating, reduced decision-making abilities, and difficulty completing tasks. Individuals with OCD may spend an excessive amount of time performing compulsive behaviours or checking and re-checking their work, which can lead to missed deadlines, decreased productivity, and heightened stress levels.


Moreover, individuals with OCD may suffer from elevated levels of anxiety and distress associated with their symptoms, which can impact their work relationships, job satisfaction, and overall well-being.


If left untreated, OCD at work can escalate and lead to more serious mental health issues such as depression or substance abuse. Therefore, it is vital for individuals with OCD to seek professional help and develop a coping plan for managing symptoms at work. With the right support and resources, individuals with OCD can improve work performance, reduce stress and anxiety, and lead fulfilling, productive lives.


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Symptoms of OCD

The range of symptoms can vary in intensity and severity. Some common symptoms of OCD are -

Obsessive Behaviour

Recurrent, unwanted, and intrusive thoughts, images, or impulses that cause significant anxiety or distress. Examples of obsessive behaviours may include fear of contamination, need for symmetry or exactness, and intrusive sexual or violent thoughts.



Repetitive behaviours or mental acts are performed in response to obsessions or in an attempt to prevent them from occurring. Examples of compulsions may include excessive cleaning or hand-washing, checking and rechecking, counting, and repeating certain phrases or prayers.



A strong need for things to be "just right," often leads to excessive attention to detail, self-criticism, and fear of making mistakes.


Avoidant Behaviour

Avoiding situations, people, or objects that may trigger obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviours.


Intrusive thoughts

Unwanted and disturbing thoughts, images, or impulses that are difficult to control or dismiss.



Intense and persistent feelings of fear, worry, or apprehension that are related to obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviours.



Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness can be related to the impact of OCD on daily life.


It's important to note that everyone experiences OCD differently, and not all individuals with OCD will experience all of these symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms of OCD, it's important to seek help from a mental health professional who can provide an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.


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Diagnosis of OCD

There is no blood work or diagnostic tests to confirm if an individual is suffering from OCD. A mental health professional may diagnose OCD after evaluating symptoms and understanding your medical and mental health history.


Treatment of OCD

The treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) typically involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication. 


Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that is often used to help individuals with OCD learn to recognise and manage their obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. In CBT, individuals work with a trained therapist to identify the underlying beliefs and thought patterns that contribute to their OCD symptoms, and then develop strategies to challenge and modify these beliefs.


Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is a specific type of CBT that involves gradually exposing the individual to the situations or objects that trigger their obsessions while preventing them from engaging in their compulsive behaviours. This helps to desensitise the individual to their triggers and reduce the intensity of their obsessions and compulsions over time.


Medication can also be helpful in treating OCD. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a type of antidepressant medication that is commonly used to treat OCD. These medications work by increasing the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is believed to play a role in regulating mood and anxiety. Other types of medicine, such as antipsychotics, may also be used in some instances. The medicines must be prescribed by healthcare professionals only and should be taken on their advice and under their supervision.


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Self-Help Tips to Manage OCD

For individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), managing symptoms can be a lifelong process. While there is no cure for OCD, there are several strategies that can help individuals cope with and manage their symptoms on a day-to-day basis.

  • One helpful strategy is to develop a structured routine that includes regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and adequate sleep. These habits can help to reduce stress and anxiety, which can in turn help to alleviate OCD symptoms.
  • Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises. These techniques can help to calm the mind and reduce the intensity of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.
  • Redirect your attention whenever you are feeling the urge to do something repeatedly. Engage yourself in some engrossing activity which you love the most. This will help you incorporate self-control.
  • Educate yourself about OCD and connect with a support group or online community of others who are struggling with the same condition. Sharing experiences and learning from others can help to reduce feelings of isolation and provide a sense of understanding and validation.
  • Write it down. Jotting down what thoughts trigger your OCD will help you analyse and manage it in a better way.
  • It's also important to seek professional help from a mental health provider who specialises in OCD. They can work with you to develop an individualised treatment plan that may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.


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Managing OCD at Work

Managing OCD symptoms at work can be challenging, but there are several tips that can help.


  • Develop a routine: Establish a structured routine at work that includes breaks and time for self-care activities such as exercise or mindfulness practices.
  • Prioritise tasks: Make a list of tasks and prioritise them according to importance. This can help to reduce feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.
  • Create a clean and organised workspace: For individuals with OCD, a cluttered or disorganized workspace can be a significant trigger for anxiety. Take time to create a clean and organized workspace that feels comfortable and conducive to productivity.
  • Communicate with coworkers and supervisors: If OCD symptoms are affecting work performance, it may be helpful to communicate with coworkers and supervisors about the condition and any accommodations that may be needed.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Incorporate relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation into the workday to help manage stress and anxiety.


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Benefits of Managing OCD at Work

Managing OCD at work can have a number of benefits, both for the individual with OCD and for the employer. A few of the benefits are:

Increased productivity

When OCD symptoms are well-managed, individuals are able to focus more on their work, leading to increased productivity.


Improved quality of work

When OCD symptoms are under control, individuals are able to devote more attention and energy to their work, which can result in a higher quality of work output.


Better relationships with colleagues

OCD can sometimes cause individuals to withdraw socially, but managing the condition can help them to engage more effectively with their colleagues, building stronger relationships and improving team dynamics.


Reduced absenteeism

Effective management of OCD symptoms can reduce the likelihood of needing time off work due to symptoms or related health issues.


Improved mental health

Managing OCD can help individuals feel more in control of their symptoms and reduce anxiety, leading to better overall mental health and well-being.


Improved job satisfaction

By managing their OCD symptoms, individuals can feel more confident in their abilities and more satisfied with their work, which can lead to greater job satisfaction and overall happiness.


Managing OCD at work can have a positive impact on both the individual and their employer, leading to greater productivity, better work quality, and improved job satisfaction. 

Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.


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UR.Life Occupation Health Center

Effectively managing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is crucial for achieving a stress-free life. If you are facing symptoms of OCD, then it is important to seek help from healthcare professionals. With the UR.Life Occupation Health Center, we help you to invest in your health goals through seamless interventions and targeted medical treatments. Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your well-being, and we ensure that you can bring your whole self to work.


With our medical professionals by your side, routine health check-ups will never be an issue. Advanced laboratory technologies back UR.Life Occupational Health Centers (OHC), and with highly qualified experts/technicians, we are committed to delivering trusted and quality recommendations, modifications, and advice to you. With our medical professionals by your side, emergency infectious health hazards will never be an issue. Our healthcare experience includes:

  • Ambulance service
  • IV fluids
  • On-site medical and first aid equipment
  • Doctors and nurses on site
  • Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS)
  • Electrolyte drinks


URLife's holistic wellness approach identifies the factors that will enable you to achieve a stress-free workplace experience, one that caters to a healthy lifestyle by prioritising physical activity.


When you visit an OHC centre, ask for:

Ask for a health risk assessment

Health Risk Assessment offers health risk status for chronic and lifestyle conditions, these include health checks for diabetes, heart health, obesity, poor sleep, and stress management. Recommendations are given based on the risk score to control and manage the risks. These recommendations include consultations with medical specialists, expert nutritionists, physical trainers, and mental health coaches who create personalised plans for diet and lifestyle modification.


Ask for a personalised nutrition plan

Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your nutritious well-being. This ensures that you can bring your whole self to work. Our evidence-based approach to food regimens, movement programmes, and mental health resources sets us apart from our competitors.


Get on a customised workout plan to get fitter

Our team of highly trained experts is adept at customising personalised training and nutrition plans to help you meet your health goals.


Talk to a mental health expert to learn stress management

We have a diverse network of qualified therapists and medical experts who are trained to guide you on techniques to manage stress.


Ask for a smoking cessation program

If you are looking to make behavioural changes you are not alone. Speak to your OHC representative today to know more about URLife’s on-demand substance abuse programs.


Educate yourself on stress management and health risks

Visit scheduled web talks and seminars on health and wellness to learn about stress management, and better productivity. With UR.Life Corporate Wellness by your side, you will be better armed to tackle stress. Our complete holistic well-being packages offer lifestyle solutions, consultations, and other customised services to help you live a fit and healthy life.


Click here to learn more about the UR.Life Corporate Wellness programme and unlock better health.



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