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What Managers Can Do to Help Reduce Anxiety at Work

Published Tue Jun 23 2020


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Managing anxiety on a personal level is difficult; in addition, trying to find a work-life balance can make employees feel overwhelmed or like they are faced with the impossible.

Even before the pandemic happened employees were probably experiencing high levels of anxiety. As states begin to lift restrictions and businesses begin to reopen, mixed emotions about what the future holds are rampant.

Anxiety, if not alleviated, can negatively affect your business.

Employees who are anxious are often tired, irritable, unfocused, and unmotivated. These symptoms could result in tasks taking longer than normal or deadlines being missed.

Mental Health America’s 2017 Mind the Workplace survey found that 53 percent of people who take off for stress or anxiety miss six or more days in one month. This high rate of absenteeism leads to reduced productivity and performance.

Another concern is low employee morale. Low morale affects employee confidence, productivity, and enthusiasm for your company and the work you’re doing.

So, what are some common internal triggers for workplace anxiety?

- Tight deadlines and heavy workloads

- Poor relationships with peers

- Issues with direct managers

- Unresolved conflicts

- Job insecurity

However, since there is still such a stigma around mental health, a lot of employees are afraid to speak up about their struggles and what they need from their workplace.

Some employees fear that managers will see it as a lack of interest or unwillingness to engage or complete the work. Others fear that they will be labeled as weak because of their anxiety. And a good percentage of people feel that speaking up about their struggles will affect possible job growth or promotions or that they will be laughed at or not taken seriously. It comes full circle—when employees feel like this, morale and productivity decline.

This begs the question: What can managers do to help their employees manage anxiety?

It's important to realize is that anxiety can happen to anyone, but each person has their own unique challenges, and, therefore, will need unique resolutions.

As a manager, work on developing your emotional intelligencer (EQ). Doing so can help you better understand your feelings but your team members' feelings of your team. By learning new ways to boost your EQ, you boost your ability to empathize and communicate with your team while fostering trust and relationships.

By developing EQ, learning to empathize, and building relationships, you can begin to be an effective coach. Though this, you will be able to direct employees to the right resources, tools, and techniques to use when they are feeling stressed or need to diffuse a conflict. This will further build on your relationships because your employees will feel supported and like they have somewhere to turn if they need to.

Check in with your employees regularly. By doing so, issues can be dealt with in a timely manner, alleviating the pressure that an employee might carry for a long time. More frequent meetings allow employees to ask questions and allow you to offer guidance or correction that may be needed. This allows for feedback to be given from both parties as well.

Being mindful in times of stress or anxiety is important. Mindfulness entails being aware of what you are feeling at any given moment and exploring those feelings and how they affect you. Using this method when speaking with employees can help you and them get to the bottom of their anxiety and helps you understand why they feel the way they do.

Check out our mental health playlist for ways you can help your employees feel their best.

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