Many of us are looking forward to coming out of lockdown and the changes it brings
But those changes could be making some of your employees feel anxious...
As we’re coming out of lockdown many of us are looking forward to eating out in a restaurant or going to the gym, as well as seeing friends and family we might not have seen for a while. But there maybe people in your workforce who are still struggling with the effects of the pandemic or feeling anxious about the changes, and what it might mean for how they work.
For many of us, we’ve been working from home for over a year now, and we’ve adapted to our routines and environment, whether it’s replacing the morning commute with a walk or treating ourselves to a nice coffee maker. And changes to that can understandably make us feel anxious.
As an employer there are some ways you can help your employees if they’re experiencing workplace anxiety. We take a look at what it is, and what you can do about it…
What is workplace anxiety?
Work anxiety can mean two things. One, how the stress caused by work can lead to anxiety and the second being the impact of having anxiety can have on work. Both of these are important to address as an employer so you can help your staff with their mental health. So how can you help?
5 Ways to Help with Workplace Anxiety:
1. Talk to your employees
We’re now able to start to see our friends and families again, but it’s still important to talk to your employees. Particularly if it’s something to do with work that’s causing them stress and anxiety.
Encourage managers to put in regular catch ups with everyone in their team and make sure to check in to see if they’re actually okay before talking about any work to-dos. It’s a great way of ensuring everyone has consistent contact, and communication is important for employee engagement too!
It’s also important to keep your teams as informed as possible about any upcoming changes to your ways of working. Not saying anything can make your employees feel worried, potentially without reason.
“Uncertainty and loneliness can create a perfect storm that damages mental wellbeing and makes motivation at work impossible to maintain. Providing the emotional support that employees need is the only way forward”
Jamie Mackenzie, Director at Sodexo Engage
2. Encourage employees to stick to their usual hours:
Whether we’re working from home, or looking to get back into the office, it can be easy to slip into the habit of working later than we should be. This can lead to us being less productive or even experiencing burnout.
For employees who are struggling to stick to their routine, make sure to encourage them to only work during their normal hours. This can help with stress by giving us a break from work and time to recharge.
You could try encouraging senior leaders and line mangers to model this behaviour, by going offline when the workday ends, and also making sure to say good evening to their team as a nudge that it’s time to shut off the laptop and enjoy their evening.
3. Be compassionate about any negativity
If an employee seems to have a more negative attitude than usual, it could be a sign their experiencing anxiety or depression. Managers in your company need to approach this with empathy, listen to their concerns and if appropriate share details of how similar issues have been resolved.
4. Share positivity:
When we’re feeling negative, it can be all to easy to not see any positives that are in our lives. Try to encourage everyone in your company to share positive moments among their teams. It could be a work achievement, some flowers you’ve grown or bought, something happy in the news, or pet pictures (everyone loves pet pics!).
5. Offer extra support
As an employer, there’s only so much you can do by yourselves. But you don’t have to support your employees alone. You could offer an Employee Assistance Programme to help members of your team that are struggling with workplace anxiety, stress or other mental health concerns.
EAPs can help as they give your employee’s access to BACP-accredited counsellors for face-to-face, online, e-mail or phone support 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
If you’re already offering something like this, make sure it’s well signposted so everyone knows they’re available and how to access them.
How we can help:
We know it isn’t always easy to know how to offer a wellbeing programme that supports your staff with their mental health. If you want to learn more about the ways you can support your employees’ health and wellbeing, why not get in touch with our experts? They can help guide you through solutions and plans you can put in place to help your staff.