Helping Employees with Anxiety at Work

Anxiety at Work

When employees experience anxiety at work, performance may suffer. Anxiety in the workplace is a frequently neglected stress-related disease. In fact, burnout and employee turnover may be more widespread than you think.

The stress levels of American workers are among the highest in the world, and it is costing companies billions of dollars in lost income. Helping employees with anxiety and stress is critically important.

Anxiety, which is sometimes referred to informally as “work anxiety disorder,” can impact job performance in two ways:  In its most severe form, anxiety focusing on work and job performance can lead to work phobia.  Other types of worry can impact the health and productivity of workers.

In any scenario, offering comprehensive mental health benefits, fostering work-life balance, and enforcing zero-tolerance policies on workplace harassment and bullying can help mitigate the expensive effects of work-related anxiety.

What Is Anxiety at Work?

Work phobia (ergophobia) is an anxiety condition that presents as job-related worries, such as a dread of public speaking or making errors. Pre-work anxiety can drive employees to worry excessively about future events or situations, such as project deadlines or returning to work after an extended sabbatical.

Anxiety, in whatever shape it takes, is a mental health illness recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and as such, it requires sensitivity and, where necessary, accommodation.

Work-Related Anxiety Causes

Some research studies uncovered significant levels of work-related anxiety, particularly among women who are more likely to work in customer-facing professions or highly stressful areas such as healthcare. Additionally, women are more likely to experience professional harassment and bullying and have a larger share of household duties.

Other sources of work-related anxiety include performance evaluations, deadlines, business travel, and presentations, particularly if they require public speaking in front of a big audience. Coping with stress in employees has become a big deal.

How Managers Can Assist Employees

You may implement a variety of best practices to alleviate and even prevent anxiety in your staff.

Find the underlying reason. You don’t want to intrude into your workers’ personal life, but if the reason for their concern is an issue at work, you need to let them know they may talk to you about it. Once you have the solution, you may proceed to solve the issue.

Be sympathetic during transitional periods. Be prepared for employees to suffer anxiety in the workplace after extended absences, such as a return to the office after working remotely. Permit them to reintegrate into the workflow gradually.

Observe the warning indicators. Frequent absence or a propensity to fixate on the worst-case scenario is frequently indicative of anxiety. Be mindful that brilliant individuals may decline promotions due to fear associated with public speaking or business travel.

Remove the stigma from mental health issues. Discuss mental health resources with your managers and teams, prominently highlight your mental health policy on your employee website and other HR materials, and make it clear that workers who seek assistance will not be penalized.

Make appropriate adjustments. If feasible, provide assistance with child care or flexible scheduling choices to employees with child care requirements. Permit employees to leave big meetings to take a break or to adjust their responsibilities at times of crisis.