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Helping Employees Deal With Workplace Anxiety

Helping Employees Deal With Workplace Anxiety

Jon Clark is the Managing partner at Moving Traffic Media, a New York digital agency offering SEO, PPC and Amazon marketing services.

Did you know that about 15% of adults in their prime working years experience a mental health disorder?

Given this, chances are you'll encounter an employee grappling with anxiety, which is among the most prevalent mental health concerns.

Imagine being persistently shadowed by a cloud of unease, like fear or worry; that's what anxiety feels like. While fleeting moments of anxiety are a part of life for many, for some, this uneasy feeling never truly fades.

Such continuous unease can deeply affect their professional lives, making even the mere thought of facing the day at the office daunting.

So, what can you do to help employees deal with workplace anxiety? Read on to discover more tips and suggestions.  

What causes workplace anxiety?

Various factors can contribute to workplace anxiety. Here are some common causes -

  • Overwhelming tasks and tight deadlines - Juggling a ton of tasks in too little time can be a recipe for stress and anxiety.
  • Uncomfortable work surroundings - A work environment that's too loud, cramped, or just not right can disrupt focus, making you feel on edge.
  • Feeling powerless - The sensation of having zero say in your tasks or workspace can make you feel trapped and anxious.
  • Tensions with teammates or supervisors - Interpersonal conflicts or misunderstandings can create a tense atmosphere, heightening stress.
  • The dread of underperforming - The constant worry of not living up to standards or messing up can be nerve-wracking.
  • Uncertainty about job stability - The looming thought of possibly losing your job or doubts about the company's direction can stir anxiety.
  • Struggling to juggle - When the scales tip too much towards work, overshadowing personal life, it can stir feelings of unrest and anxiety.

Why should you care about workplace anxiety?

Workplace anxiety can profoundly influence an employee's overall performance. Imagine being an employee weighed down by anxiety; you might find your mind drifting away, making it challenging to focus on the tasks at hand. This cloud of anxiousness can sap motivation, causing delays in completing assignments or even leading to avoidable errors.

Physical manifestations of anxiety aren't any easier. It's not just the mental fog but the actual physical drain: tense muscles, relentless fatigue, or disrupted sleep patterns. Feeling perpetually drained or achy can only further hamper someone's efficacy at work.

Quality of work is another casualty. An anxious mind is often a distracted one, making slips or missing out on critical nuances. Such errors could be detrimental, potentially causing financial setbacks or tarnishing the company's reputation.

And if we ignore this elephant in the room? Well, chronic workplace anxiety could drive employees to frequently call in sick or even contemplate a job change, both of which pose their own sets of challenges and costs for employers, from hampered work continuity to the financial strains of hiring anew.

What can employers do to help manage workplace anxiety?

Employers have a pivotal role in supporting employees grappling with workplace anxiety. Here's a guide on how they can step in:

Foster a nurturing environment - Imagine walking into an office with an open-door policy, where feedback is given constructively, and your efforts are acknowledged. Such a nurturing and inclusive space can significantly diminish the stress and apprehensions employees might harbor.

Empower with knowledge & tools - Equip your team with tools and training tailored to battle anxiety. Be it enlightening them about stress-busting techniques, introducing them to the world of mindfulness, or offering resources to navigate anxious times. Knowledge is power.

Embrace flexibility - Let's face it; the daily grind can sometimes amplify stress. By offering options like working remotely or flexible hours, employers can help staff avoid added triggers, be it the madness of rush-hour commutes or the hustle and bustle of a packed office.

Lean on Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) - Think of EAPs as a safety net, offering confidential counsel and support for those facing anxiety. By providing this resource, employers ensure that their team has access to expert guidance whenever they're in a bind.

Champion self-care - Sometimes, it's the simple things. Promoting habits like taking timely breaks, staying active, or ensuring one gets their beauty sleep can make a world of difference in an employee's mental well-being.

In essence, by being tuned to the needs of their team and providing necessary support, employers can cultivate a vibrant, positive, and wholesome work environment for all.

How to create an open-door environment where employees feel safe mentioning their mental health

Creating an open-door environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their feelings of anxiety requires a few key steps -

Foster a culture of openness and trust - This means creating an environment where employees feel safe and encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or negative repercussions.

Train managers and supervisors to recognize signs of anxiety - Managers and supervisors need to be trained to recognize the signs of anxiety and mental health issues in their employees. This includes providing resources and training to help them identify these signs and offer support.

Provide access to mental health resources - Employers can provide access to mental health resources such as employee assistance programs (EAPs), counseling services, and mental health hotlines. This can help employees feel supported and get the help they need.

Communicate regularly - Regular communication from managers and supervisors can help employees feel more comfortable sharing their feelings of anxiety. This can be done through regular team meetings, one-on-one check-ins, and anonymous feedback channels.

Lead by example - Managers and supervisors should lead by example by sharing their own experiences with anxiety or mental health issues. This can help reduce the stigma around mental health and encourage employees to feel more comfortable sharing their own experiences.

Overall, creating an open-door environment where employees can say if they are anxious requires a commitment from employers to prioritize employee well-being and create a culture of openness, support, and trust.

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