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How To Support Employees With Anxiety

Today, let’s chat about something super important: anxiety in the workplace. Yep, it’s a real thing, and it affects more people than you might think. Dealing with anxiety in the workplace can be very challenging and quite common so it comes as no surprise that many employers want to learn how to support employees with anxiety. But fear not, because with a little understanding and some thoughtful strategies, we can create environments where everyone feels supported and valued. 

What is Anxiety?

First off, what exactly is anxiety? Well, Anxiety isn’t just your average case of nerves or jitters. It’s a complex mental health condition that can vary widely in its manifestations and intensity. At its core, anxiety involves a persistent sense of worry, fear, or unease that can feel overwhelming and uncontrollable. Picture this: it’s like having a relentless voice in your head constantly whispering worst-case scenarios and what-ifs, even when everything seems fine on the surface.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky – anxiety isn’t always logical or rational. It doesn’t care if there’s no real threat or danger present; it’ll still rear its head and wreak havoc on your peace of mind. And while a little bit of anxiety is a normal part of the human experience, for some folks, it can become all-consuming and interfere with their ability to function in everyday life – including at work.

Anxiety in the Workplace

Now, imagine dealing with that cloud while trying to tackle your to-do list at work. It’s not easy, right? People with anxiety might struggle with concentration, decision-making, and even interacting with colleagues. And let’s not forget the physical symptoms – racing heart, sweaty palms, the whole nine yards – which can make it tough to focus on anything else.

If some of your colleagues have anxiety you might notice subtle signs like fidgeting or avoiding eye contact to more overt symptoms like panic attacks or difficulty concentrating. Imagine trying to focus on a project or participate in a meeting while your heart is pounding out of your chest and your mind is racing a mile a minute. It’s like trying to navigate a maze blindfolded – frustrating, exhausting, and downright challenging.

But here’s the thing: anxiety doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone, regardless of their job title, experience level, or outward appearance of confidence. Statistics show that 60% of employees are experiencing at least some mild symptoms of anxiety and a lot of that is down to stress in the workplace. That’s why it’s crucial for employers and HR professionals to educate themselves about anxiety and create supportive environments where employees feel comfortable seeking help and accommodation when needed.

Tips to Support Employees with Anxiety

So, how can we lend a helping hand to our colleagues? In this next section, we’ll explore some practical tips and strategies if you’d like to know how to support employees with anxiety in the workplace. Because when we come together as a team to make mental health and wellbeing a priority, we create spaces where everyone can thrive. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind:

  • Foster open communication: Create a safe space where employees feel comfortable discussing their concerns without fear of judgement. Let them know that it’s okay to talk about mental health and that support is available.
  • Flexible working arrangements: Offering flexibility in work hours or remote work options can be a game-changer for someone dealing with anxiety. It allows them to manage their workload in a way that suits their needs and reduces stressors like commuting or office distractions.
  • Provide resources and support: Make sure your employees know about any mental health resources available to them, whether it’s through an employee assistance program, counselling services, or support groups. Knowledge is power, and having access to these resources can make a world of difference.
  • Encourage self-care: Promote a culture of self-care by encouraging regular breaks, promoting a healthy work-life balance, and providing access to wellness activities like yoga or mindfulness sessions. A happy, healthy employee is a productive one!
  • Lead by example: As leaders and HR professionals, we have a responsibility to set the tone when it comes to mental health in the workplace. Be proactive in addressing stigma, make employee wellbeing a priority, and practice empathy and understanding in your interactions.
  • Encourage breaks and time-outs: Sometimes, all it takes to alleviate anxiety is a brief break to reset and recharge. Encourage your team members to take short breaks throughout the day to practise deep breathing exercises, go for a walk, or simply step away from their desks for a few minutes. These mini time-outs can help reduce stress levels and improve focus and productivity.
  • Create a calm workspace: Designing a calm and soothing work environment can work wonders for employees with anxiety. Consider incorporating elements like soft lighting, comfortable seating, and plants into the office space to promote relaxation and well-being. Additionally, noise-cancelling headphones or designated quiet zones can provide respite from noisy or bustling areas.
  • Offer training and education: Provide employees and managers with training and education on mental health awareness and how to support colleagues with anxiety. Equip them with tools and resources for knowing the signs of anxiety, initiating conversations about mental health, and accessing appropriate support services. Arming your team with information can foster a culture of understanding and empathy.

How Experiences can Help with Anxiety

Incorporating experiences into your employee wellbeing initiatives isn’t just about fun and games – it can be a powerful tool for promoting mental health and supporting colleagues with anxiety. Imagine giving your team members the gift of a memorable experience, whether it’s a relaxing spa day, a rage room experience, or a delightful weekend getaway. These activities offer more than just a temporary escape from the daily grind – they provide opportunities for relaxation, rejuvenation, and personal growth that can have lasting effects on employee wellbeing.

Experiences have the power to lift spirits and boost morale, even in the face of anxiety or stress. The anticipation and excitement leading up to an upcoming adventure can create a sense of anticipation and joy that carries over into the workplace. Many of our experiences, such as mindfulness retreats, yoga classes, or art workshops, encourage participants to be present in the moment and cultivate a sense of mindfulness. These practices can be particularly beneficial for individuals dealing with anxiety, as they provide tools for managing racing thoughts, reducing stress levels, and fostering a greater sense of calm and clarity.

Hopefully by now you have learned how to support employees with anxiety. Remember, supporting employees with anxiety isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s also good for business. When employees feel valued and supported, they’re more engaged, productive, and likely to stick around for the long haul. By implementing these additional tips and tricks, we can create workplaces that not only accommodate but actively support employees with anxiety. Together, we can foster a culture of compassion, inclusivity, and resilience where everyone can flourish – anxiety and all. What to find out more about our range of wellbeing experiences? Get in touch below:

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