Employees’ health, productivity, motivation, and confidence are all impacted by mental health, which is a constant in the workplace. With 40 million adult sufferers in the United States alone, anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders. Anxiety symptoms frequently get worse in high-stress settings like boardrooms and the workplace.
It’s critical that you, as an employer, are aware of how to support anxious workers. We’ll go over some strategies in this article for helping employees who are experiencing anxiety. In order for you to effectively support people in the ways that they require, we will give you advice on a variety of approaches.
What is anxiety?
It’s common for people to experience occasional anxiety. However, when anxiety becomes overwhelming, people can have mild to severe feelings of fear, panic, and helplessness. According to Olivia Marcellino, VP of Research at LuxuryRehabs.com, “often, anxiety can stem from a deep-seated past trauma that we fail to acknowledge and confront.”
These emotions may show up in a variety of symptomatic ways, which can significantly affect how well a person can function in daily life.
Perhaps you are reading this article because you think a teammate is having anxiety issues. Some of the most typical signs of anxiety are listed below. These actions ought to be able to tell whether a worker is having mental health issues or not. You can be more proactive about finding a solution the earlier you can identify the issue.
- Negative behaviour shifts (more withdrawn, snappy, or irritable)
- a decline in motivation and performance at work
- additional absences
- Having trouble remembering things
- shifts in eating patterns
- being easily distracted and having trouble focusing
Your employees may be experiencing anxiety if you’ve observed any of the symptoms listed above. Some of the tactics you can use to support them are listed below.
Take the necessary training
It’s critical that you are knowledgeable about mental health issues if you want to support staff members who are experiencing them effectively. Because it affects each person differently, mental health is a difficult subject and can be challenging to understand.
Therefore, it is crucial to take the necessary training to learn more so that you can properly support your employees and assist them rather than hinder them. Your education from mental health professionals will give you the skills you need to understand anxiety better, fight the stigma attached to it, and help those in need.
Anxiety related to working from home
Working from home is now accepted as the new norm everywhere. Even though it has many advantages, many workers are having trouble maintaining a healthy work-life balance. And when employees stop coming into the office, it can be challenging for employers to provide effective support.
You must be available to provide support as needed if your staff members are expressing anxiety related to working from home, whether it be due to juggling childcare obligations, finding it difficult to unwind at the end of the day, or having trouble focusing.
Regular communication is the best way to help manage employee anxiety related to working from home. One of the best ways to lower anxiety in workers who work from home is to prioritise communication, whether it be a brief check-in each morning or a phone call during the workday.
Not all of your staff members will be eager to express their emotions in an open way. As a result, some companies offer emoji feedback, allowing workers to send a thumbs-up if they’re feeling great, a wave if they’re feeling average, and a sad face if they’re having a hard time. Although it may seem simple, it’s a useful method for workers to assess how their teams are doing and identify team members who require additional daily support.
Employees who want support but don’t want to publicly admit they are struggling can also benefit from anonymous surveys. You can learn about people’s sentiments and their suggestions for helping through surveys. The entire team can then benefit from these adjustments, such as flexible work schedules, better sick pay, paid counselling sessions, and working incentives. This ensures that those who are vulnerable have access to the support they require while also protecting their right to privacy.
Hearing from your employees about the kind of support they require and how you can assist them is a fantastic opportunity provided by communication. It’s a straightforward advice, but it can make a big difference.
Anxiety related to returning to work
Many employees are hesitant to go back to the office after more than a year of working from home. They have appreciated the flexibility and laid-back atmosphere of working from home, they have loved not having to commute into the office every day, and they have generally found it to be more productive!
Although they are anticipating seeing many of their coworkers again in person, they are actually very anxious about going back to the office. All employees can help with this because it is a very common occurrence.
Starting with a staggered approach is a great way to ease tense employees back into the workplace. Invite them in for a half-day so you can gauge how things go. The office environment could have changed. There could be different seating arrangements, different procedures, or even different people. There’s a lot to get used to. Start out small and work your way up.
After what has been a very turbulent and anxiety-inducing year, a slow reintroduction back into the office is exactly what your staff needs. Slow and steady wins the race.
Offer a variety of work options
There are people who disagree with the 9 to 5 workday. Every single employee in your office has a life outside of work, responsibilities, and stressors of their own.
If you discover that your employees are struggling to complete their work effectively because of your rigid work structure, you might think about providing flexible working options.
This calls for you to be as accommodating as you can in terms of when they begin working, when they finish working, and where they choose to work from. You might think about allowing anxious employees to work remotely for a few days each week or providing flexible work hours.
You’ll be surprised at how much stress your more accommodating work schedules relieve for stressed-out employees. For those who are overstressed, overworked, and overwhelmed, even small changes can make a big difference.
Introduce a policy of open doors
Being the boss, it may be tempting to spend every waking hour in your office. Additionally, this separation has been made easier by remote working. While you might be able to accomplish more work and experience fewer interruptions as a result, this doesn’t exactly make you approachable.
Introducing an open-door policy entails always having your door open to visitors. This implies that your team can reach you whenever they need to in a remote setting. An open-door policy lets remote workers know they can contact you whenever they want to talk, whether by phone, email, or online messaging. It’s an easy way to demonstrate your concern for your team. Open-door policies foster relationships, foster connections, and project a more approachable image of you.
Open-door policies are very helpful for workers experiencing anxiety symptoms because they reassure them that they can talk to you if they need to. The open-door policy, which was initially implemented in office settings where managers would leave their office doors open, is now being successfully applied to remote working.
Introducing an open-door policy is the best course of action if you want to connect with your staff and establish a reputation as someone who looks out for their group.
Be honest and open when communicating.
We all need someone to talk to, but when anxiety is a problem, people frequently isolate themselves from other people because they are embarrassed or afraid to express how they are feeling.
The key to having a productive, content workforce is communication. It’s crucial to maintain open lines of communication if you want to support anxious employees.
Once you are aware that your employee is experiencing anxiety, why not take some time out of your day to set up a private conversation with them to learn more about their challenges and how you can support them?
For those who are anxious, creating a space where they can speak freely and feel heard is especially comforting. Additionally, it gives you a priceless perspective into their difficulties and aids in your understanding of how to best meet their needs.
Establish a tranquil work environment
Offices can be chaotic and noisy environments. Workplaces can appear to be extremely busy and hectic when many people spend their entire day sitting at desks.
Additionally, they are prone to becoming cluttered and disorganised. These things can have a detrimental effect on an employee’s mental health, frequently making anxiety symptoms worse.
Make an effort to create a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere. Let in a lot of natural light, maintain a clean and organised workplace, add plants, create quiet workspaces, and include relaxation areas.
You can create a place that your employees actually want to be in if you make an effort to improve the working conditions for your entire team.
To conduct therapy sessions
Despite your best efforts, it is common for employees to avoid discussing their mental health at work. And it makes perfect sense why. However, it’s crucial to avoid taking it personally, especially since you went to such lengths to support them.
Anxious workers occasionally just need to talk to someone they don’t know or who doesn’t know them. Individuals who are anxious benefit greatly from anonymity. As a result, offering therapy sessions to people who struggle with anxiety can be beneficial.
Employers can support their employees’ mental health by offering therapy as a wonderful complimentary service. And it’s one of the best ways to guarantee that everyone is looked after and receiving the qualified assistance they need.
It can be challenging to offer anxious workers the right kind of support, especially since everyone reacts to situations differently. However, we hope the advice above has given you some useful suggestions. And if you’re unsure of anything, just ask your staff how you can help them.
The most crucial thing is to communicate, listen, and fulfil people’s needs wherever you can.
More about addiction in the workplace.
- Workplace Interventions
- Addiction in the workplace
- Hire Staff in Recovery
- Dealing with Staff in Recovery
- Addiction Rehab Blog