I’m a dream expert: This is what your work dreams mean

A psychologist has revealed the meaning behind your workplace dreams – and if you toss and turn while worrying you’re going to be fired, it’s probably a reflection of how competent you feel in the office.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, people tend to sleep up to an additional two and a half hours per night during winter, providing more room for dreams – and, sometimes, nightmares.

Studies show that more than half (55%) of UK employees dream about work regularly, while over a quarter (28%) have a work-related nightmare at least once a week. But what do these dreams actually mean?

Office furniture specialists Furniture At Work have partnered with India-based psychologist Arouba Kabir Pathan, who specialises in dream analysis, to uncover exactly why we have work dreams – and what they signify.

‘If you find the frequency of these dreams increasing, this may well be influenced by different work-related factors such as job stress, career satisfaction and overall engagement with your work, so it’s important to think about what they might mean,’ Arouba told FEMAIL.

One of the most common work dreams is being late or unprepared in some way (stock image)

The expert added it’s common for people to bring emotions from dreams into consciousness, which could be noticed by colleagues or employers.

‘Work dreams can influence our emotions and mindset upon waking, potentially impacting our behaviour at work.

‘So, if someone dreams about a conflict with a coworker, they may bring residual emotions into their interactions the next day.’

Here, Arouba reveals the meanings behind some of the most common work-associated dreams… 

1. Being late or unprepared

One of the most common work dreams is being late or unprepared in some way.

‘If you’re having dreams where you’re feeling anxious and unprepared, this could reflect concerns that you’re not meeting expectations at work,’ said Arouba.

‘It could also mean you have a fear of failure about certain tasks at work, or you may be feeling unprepared for a challenge that lies ahead.’

2. Conflict with colleagues or boss

Dreaming about conflict can be stressful and could be an indication of a deeper-rooted issue with communication in the workplace.

Arouba revealed: ‘This type of dream reflects interpersonal issues or power dynamics at work. It could also signify unresolved conflicts or the need for better communication.’

3. Job loss or demotion

Many people have dreams about losing their job, which reveals their anxieties around job security and job performance, according to the expert.

Arouba said: ‘Dreaming of a demotion signifies a fear of losing job security.

‘It can also show concerns about your own competence and performance.’

Psychologist Arouba Kabir Pathan told FEMAIL: 'Dreaming of a demotion signifies a fear of losing job security.' (stock image)

4. Repetitive tasks or mundane work

Dreaming about your everyday, repetitive work tasks may not be as harmless as you think – and could actually signify it’s time to look for a new job.

‘Monotonous work dreams could reflect feelings of boredom, routine or dissatisfaction with the current job tasks,’ Arouba explained.

5. Doing a different job

While dreams about current jobs are frequent, many people also experience dreaming about new ventures.

‘This reflects a desire for change or dissatisfaction with your current job. It could also suggest a need for personal growth and exploration,’ Arouba said.

6. Being chased or pursued at work

Dreaming of being chased is extremely common, but dreaming about being chased at work specifically can indicate mounting pressure.

‘Dreaming of being chased by a colleague shows you’re feeling overwhelmed, pursued by responsibilities, or avoiding something important in your professional life,’ according to Arouba.

7. Missing a deadline

A dream about missing a deadline can cause many to wake up in a panic. This type of dream can show you’re concerned about meeting expectations.

Arouba explained: ‘This type of dream can show stress about time management, fear of falling short of expectations, or concerns about failing to meet goals.’

A dream about missing a deadline can cause many to wake up in a panic. This type of dream can show you're concerned about meeting expectations (stock image)

8. Inability to communicate

Dreams where you’re unable to speak or communicate can be stressful.

‘This type of dream shows issues with expressing oneself at work,’ Arouba said. 

‘You could be feeling unheard or facing challenges in conveying ideas effectively.’

9. Success and recognition

Not all work dreams are based on negative situations.

‘Positive work dreams, such as receiving praise or a promotion, might signify a desire for recognition, achievement, or a positive self-evaluation,’ explained Arouba.

‘While the dream is positive, it could show something you lack in your working life.’


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