Every job is stressful in some way or another, and for an employee with anxiety disorder, this daily routine of deadlines, learning new techniques, dealing with conflict, and trying for promotions creates a daily struggle. While anxiety has become a more common topic, there are still many people – possibly some of your employees – who suffer in silence because of stigma, as well as those who have high-functioning anxiety and can hide their symptoms. From the simplest of tasks to the most stressful situations, anxiety can have a huge impact on your employees and company, in general. Whether you know someone on your team who struggles with this, or if you aren’t sure if anyone in your office has anxiety, here are some tips on managing employees with anxiety that can help you create a more peaceful and productive work environment.
When Anxiety Affects Work
According to a survey conducted by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, many individuals with anxiety disorders struggle to manage tasks and responsibilities at the office.1 Having an anxiety disorder can make even the smallest tasks at work difficult to complete.
This can also impact a person’s chances of receiving a promotion and raise and can put a lot of pressure on the individual to perform at a certain level and continually improve. Anxiety in the workplace can have many effects.
Common effects and signs of anxiety in employees include:
- Sleep problems
- Poor eating habits
- Missed deadlines
- Decreased ability to focus and concentration
- Making more mistakes than usual
- Difficulty managing teammates
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems
- Decreased job satisfaction
- Inability to form or maintain working relationships
- Risk of physical danger in cases where heavy machinery is involved
- Emotional outbursts and general irritability
- Unhappy work environment
- Problems with coworkers
Over time, the individual’s anxiety can impact the culture of the workplace, as well as affect how other coworkers feel in the office and possibly their performance. Although the goal of managing an employee with anxiety is to help the individual with mental illness feel comfortable at work, there’s also the bonus of creating an overall productive and peaceful work environment.
How to Manage Employees With Anxiety
Common causes of anxiety at work include unrealistic expectations, long hours or odd schedules, conflict with coworkers, poor communication, and lack of job security. Below are some tips for managing employees with anxiety that can help you lead your team properly and create a work environment where everyone in the office feels comfortable.
Do Your Research
If you suspect that someone on your team has anxiety, do your research. Learn about common symptoms and the different types of anxiety. Research how it makes someone feel and how they might cope.
Also, take a look at how severe the person’s anxiety is. Is there a particular factor at work that seems to be causing this person anxiety? How could you ease this burden or help them better understand this aspect of their job?
By taking the time to observe your team and understand that they handle things differently, you can help them gauge their limits, play to their strengths, improve their morale, destigmatize mental illness, and help them succeed at work and personally.
It’s human nature to fear the unknown and judgment from others, which is why you’re more likely to hear about a coworker’s heart condition than their mental illness. Although more resources and information about anxiety are being shared all the time, the shame, embarrassment, and stigma surrounding mental illness tend to paint anxiety as a personal problem rather than an actual disorder.
This mentality can be harmful in a work environment. So without being pushy, set the expectation to have open communication and understanding.
Look at Leadership
Most if not all companies and businesses have a hierarchy made up of several leaders, each of which needs to be on the same page to create a positive workflow and environment. As a leader, you need to have regular one-on-one meetings with your teammates to ask how they’re doing and find out how you can help them.
Oftentimes, when a company’s team starts to struggle, there’s a disconnect in leadership. So a major piece of advice we can give you for dealing with employees with anxiety is to hold regular leadership meetings to make sure that all leaders are constantly on the same page so you can all be there for your team.
It’s common for employers to focus more on employees’ mistakes than achievements, which can be stressful for any employee. Everyone has their off days, and people with anxiety tend to put even more pressure and stress on themselves to complete things correctly.
When you have a leader who tends to recognize your 1 in every 100 mistakes rather than the 99 achievements, anxiety can, understandable, peak. Oftentimes, this pattern from leadership can even contribute to team members quitting, which can hurt the company.
To avoid these problems, make your employees feel comfortable enough to test their limits where it’s appropriate and celebrate their achievements. Also, be encouraging when they do mess up so they can gain confidence in you as a leader they can look up to and in their abilities.
People with anxiety do well with reassurance and support, and while you should avoid enabling the individual, motivation can have a great impact on their performance and well-being.
Help for Anxiety at Seaside
Managing someone with anxiety at work can be stressful, and while your support and efforts are important, a major way you can contribute to the individual’s well-being is by recommending professional care. Our Palm Beach rehab in Florida offers mental health programs for various types of mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, co-occurring addiction and mental illness, and more.
Our anxiety treatment incorporates cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based programs to help clients understand their behaviors and how to incorporate healthier coping mechanisms in their daily routines.