According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly 30 per cent of employees will have a mental health problem in any given year. The majority of issues will be related to anxiety and depressive disorders, many of which can be related directly back to the workplace.
Not only can these issues increase absenteeism, but they can also cause lead to compensation claims under the employers’ liability section of your Office Insurance policy.
Duty of Care
As an employer, you have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment. This will extend to workplace stress, which can often be overlooked if your business is not monitoring workloads and individual feedback. We all deal with situations differently, and it is important to listen carefully to feedback and monitor stress carefully within your business.
While it can be quite normal for people to feel anxious or nervous during an interview or before public speaking, feeling pervasive, irrational anxiety throughout the working day is not. The Mental Health Foundation estimates that 4.7 per cent of the United Kingdom suffer from anxiety problems every year.
Anxiety in the workplace can have a major impact — individuals who have an anxiety disorder may have difficulty with common workplace expectations, which may seem simple to some, such as meeting deadlines or maintaining business relationships with clients or peers.
Like other illnesses, anxiety disorders are caused by a combination of biological and environmental factors. The most common symptoms of anxiety disorders include continuous obsessive thoughts, fatigue, extreme feelings of fear and panic, headaches, difficulty speaking and nausea.
Techniques to Relieve Anxiety
While feelings of anxiety can be pervasive, deploying the following techniques both inside and outside of the workplace can help to mitigate symptoms.
The following tips will help you encourage workplace activities which can reduce anxiety across your workforce:
#1 Moving Around
Taking a brief walk or finding a quiet area in the workplace to perform a quick exercise can help alleviate feelings of anxiety. Moving around releases endorphins that can have a calming effect on individuals.
#2 Break up Large Tasks
Large tasks or projects can sometimes seem overwhelming, but by breaking them down into smaller tasks, they may be easier to complete. Try to break down tasks by the hour, encouraging people to take breaks when necessary to focus on what they have accomplished.
Monitor and support your team regularly to avoid individuals feeling all the pressure is falling on their shoulders.
Anxiety is often a temporary feeling that becomes an obsessive thought. Before individuals begin dwelling on one thought for too long, build confidence by reassuring your business support and encouraging positive thinking. If necessary, you can move the focus onto something else, or encourage individuals to take a break or go for a brief walk. Then, re-evaluate their feelings.
Anxiety is often driven by a feeling of isolation. Simply encouraging communication with peers or with managers, will reduce pressure and as well as improving output. It’s all too easy in today’s modern office environment to communicate simply via email. However, instructions or feelings can often be misconstrued, and it is important to encourage verbal or face-to-face discussions – particularly with individuals working remotely.
Anxiety in the workplace is very common and impacts millions of people daily. Should you identify one of your employees, or a colleague, who may be suffering from a potential mental health problem, it is always better to seek the support of a trained professional who can provide you with expert guidance.