More than half (58%) of Australians hide some aspects of themselves, especially their vulnerabilities, when they’re at the office, according to research from LinkedIn.
Most say that revealing what you’re really thinking at work is a career limiting move, arguing that it’s better to avoid any conflict and keep those thoughts locked away.
Respondents to the survey by LinkedIn also cited speaking your mind about issues (61%), ethnicity (57%), gender (53%) and religious beliefs (52%) as big career limiters in the Australian workplace.
The research has have been released to coincide with the launch of #BringYourWholeSelf — a campaign developed by LinkedIn to encourage Australians to be more open about their values, aspirations and opinions in their professional life.
“When we bring our whole self to work, we unlock a more positive work experience and are more productive,” says Matt Tindale, Country Manager for LinkedIn in Australia and New Zealand.
When asked why they hold back elements of themselves, more than half (57%) of the professionals surveyed said they wanted to avoid conflict, while more than a third (35%) said they were concerned about how others would react or perceive them.
Men and women differ in what they hold back at work.
Men feel more uncomfortable expressing vulnerability (73%) compared to women (67%).
And women (79%) feel less comfortable than men (85%) expressing their opinion in the workplace.
“Being able to embrace vulnerability in a professional context is important because it helps build trust and respect with your network,” says Tindale.
A third (35%) surveyed said they hold back expressing their mental health and wellness, with nearly three quarters (74%) saying it is a career limiter.
One in five (21%) still hold back from expressing their sexual orientation in the workplace. Nearly half (45%) see this as a career limiter.
However, being more open at work can have benefits. Nearly half (44%) of respondents say being themselves has a positive impact on productivity.
They also said being themselves at work has a positive impact on job satisfaction (47%), as well as their personal health and well-being (39%).
“And satisfied people means that you retain better staff, you’ve got less turnover,” Tindale told Business Insider.
“We know that turnover costs literally millions, if not billions, of dollars to the Australian economy.
“Health and well-being has got great outcomes for sickness, sick days, for productivity — it’s an absolute tangible benefit.”
The research commissioned by LinkedIn, and conducted by ACA Research, surveyed 1010 Australian professionals in September.
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