In the modern world, anxiety has become one of the significant health issues for working adults. According to the American Institute of Stress, 80 per cent of the workers feel stressed during their working hours. Furthermore, this stress is a leading cause of anxiety and other mental health issues among employees. As we strive to be more competitive every day, we make our mental health vulnerable.
Workplace stress has become a harsh reality within booming organisations and industries. According to the AIS Workplace Stress Survey, 25 per cent of workers feel that their job is the leading cause of success in their lives. Moreover, around 40 per cent of employees believe that they are either very stressed or overly stressed at work. These figures are worrisome and alarming, aren’t they?
These figures indicate that organisations and leaders should look after employee well-being. Further, this idea of well-being should not only be restricted to physical health but also emphasise the mental health of workers. Employees are under constant stress to deliver results for the organisation and grow along with the organisation. Instead of this, even the organisations should dedicate some efforts to reduce stress among its workforce.
But what do employees have to stress about? Why are employees witnessing stress and anxiety as long as they get their salaries credited on time? There are a lot of factors that add to anxiety disorders among your team members, and you must identify to them. The following are some of the most common reasons for anxiety in working adults.
Causes of anxiety in workers
- Overwhelming workload and targets
- Uncertainty over job security
- Bullying and conflict at the workplace
- Managing deadlines
- Managing teams and staff
- Toxic relationships with co-workers
- Expectations of superiors
- Politics and favouritism at work
- Long working hours
- Lack of guidance or direction
So, as you can see, there are multiple causes of stress and anxiety in employees. Furthermore, COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a new set of worries and uncertainties among working adults. The pandemic has changed economic scenarios for the worst and has exposed millions of people to financial insecurities. While many have lost their jobs and sources of income already, many fear losing them to COVID-19 shortly. So, the pandemic has added to the causes of stress and anxiety disorders among working adults.
Other causes of anxiety, coupled with the devastating effects of the pandemic on people’s mental health call for empathy among us. As humans, we need to be supportive of each other in such difficult times that the entire world is going through. Further, this feeling of empathy should reach the organisations and the corporate culture as well. Companies and business owners should be more empathetic towards their employees’ anxiety disorders and other problems.
As a business leader, you want your team members to give their best to the organisation. But how are they going to deliver their best if they are too tangled in their stress and anxiety? For a culture of high employee engagement, you ought to look after employee engagement. If you can identify anxiety disorders in your staff members, you should make efforts to help them solve their issues. If their work is one of the major causes of their anxiety, you being the boss can make a positive difference for sure.
You should not limit your leadership skills to driving revenues or generating high profits. You should also look to help your employees as a leader who can display emotional intelligence. If you can help your workers deal with their stress and anxiety, you can inspire in them the highest magnitude of loyalty and productivity. But what can you do to help your employees who are suffering from anxiety disorders? How can you play an influential role in making them bounce back to their highest efficiency? Here are some ways in which you can help your employees win over their anxiety disorders.
Six ways in which you can help workers suffering with anxiety
1. Learn to identify anxious behaviour
Evenif you try to create a welcoming culture for your employees to share their problems with you, they might not feel comfortable doing the same. So, if you know how to identify various signs of anxiety in your employees, you can offer help to them. The symptoms of stress often include nervousness, declining efficiency, careless errors, and struggling workplace relationships. When you learn to identify these behaviours, you can support your employees without making them feel uncomfortable. Thus, this is always the first step when you look for ways to help your employees suffering from anxiety disorders.
2. Be as available as you can be
Have an open-door policy at your workplace wherein your workers can walk up to you anytime to discuss their work-related issues. Let them know that you are available to address their concerns and willing to have conversations with them. In this way, you can foster a welcoming work environment and a supportive culture within your organisation. Sometimes, all that an employee may need to deal with his anxiety is an opportunity to communicate his concerns to his boss. So, when you volunteer to have your door open for your employees all the time, you encourage them to speak up. Fostering a welcoming environment based on strong workplace relationships is the best you can do to help your workers.
3. Keep it confidential
When a worker shares his mental health issues with you, he wants you to keep it confidential. He does not wish to the entire staff to know about it as that can bring a sense of discomfort. Thus, you should maintain confidentiality when you learn about your workers’ mental health disorders or anxious behaviours. Further, this also leads to higher trust-building between you and your employees, leading to more cordial relationships. If your workers can confide in you, they offer their best loyalty to you. Moreover, they can find a sense of security and safety based on the trust they see in you. This sense of protection can help them a great deal to overcome anxiety.
4. Adopt a flexible approach to deadlines
The anxiety issues in workers can get worse on some days, and that can impact their productivity. Furthermore, in such situations, when they feel too anxious, they might not be able to finish their work in tight deadlines. Even if they manage to meet deadlines, their work quality may get compromised. So, you should be a little flexible in setting deadlines for employees who are affected by stress. This little flexibility from your side can make a big difference in your workers. They can manage their stress better when the work deadlines are not too tight, and that can save them from further deterioration of mental health.
5. Create a culture of feedback
If workload and jobs are giving so much stress and anxiety to workers, then it is evident that they want a few things at work to change. They expect the organisation and their bosses to listen to them, give them opportunities to have a say, and be open to changes. This is best achieved when you create a culture of feedback within the workplace. While you should give constructive feedback to your employees, you should also seek input from them. You can do this through various surveys that tend to measure the degree of employee engagement or job satisfaction. But it is going to be a futile process if you do not act on the feedback. Once you know what is bothering your workers, you should try to fix it to the earliest.
6. Set up an anti-harassment cell
Sexual or other forms of harassment at work are the leading causes of stress and anxiety. Such incidents can take a toll on the mental health of workers and impact their productivity. Thus, one very vital step towards helping the cause of mental well-being amid workers is to set up an anti-harassment cell in the workplace. It can encourage workers to speak up against the harassment they face at the office. Furthermore, this cell should take swift and stringent actions against workers who are found guilty. Sexual harassment at the workplace is a common problem that women across the globe face. Moreover, they do not get the opportunity to speak against harassment done by their superiors for fear of losing their job. Hence, every organisation should have a fair system that addresses all forms of abuse.
To conclude, anxiety disorders and depression are among significant health issues in the contemporary world. People now feel the need to address mental health issues more than ever before. This is the case because the cases of declining mental health are rising manifold all across the globe. Furthermore, a lot of working adults are affected by anxiety and depression due to work-related stress or personal issues. Hence, employers and organisations too need to offer support to employees facing anxiety issues. If they choose not to do so, it can lead to declining efficiency among employees that further impacts the performance of the business. One of the best ways that employers can incorporate to help their workers is by being more available, flexible, and empathetic towards them. Remember, empathy is the key when it comes to creating a high-performance culture.